The government has a credit balance of GH¢ 500 million with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
This was after the government settled all of its indebtedness to the ECG, including the GH¢ 2.63 billion it inherited on assumption of office.
The Minister of Energy, Mr John-Peter Amewu, who made this known, said the credit balance was more than enough to settle all government bills from January to April 2020.
Speaking at the bi-weekly press briefing on the national COVID-19 situation in Accra yesterday, Mr Amewu said the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration made efforts to be current with payment of bills to the ECG, culminating in the payment of GH¢ 2 billion every year with an average monthly payment of GH¢ 100 million.
“It is a fact that on assumption of office, this administration was confronted with a huge indebtedness to the ECG. As of December 2016 the state owed ECG GH¢ 2.63 billion. Government ensured it was current on all bills incurred from 2017.
“At the end of 2019, all government bills with ECG had been paid and government had a credit balance of GH¢ 500 million with ECG and that was more than enough to settle government bills to ECG from January to April 2020,” he said.
Furthermore he stated: “It is also interesting to note that an un-reconciled additional payment of GH¢ 4.14 billion has also been made to various small suppliers of power producers which is yet to be credited to government under the ongoing Power Reconciliation Exercise.”
Mr Amewu said when the Power Reconciliation Exercise was completed, the government would be in a comfortable position to inform viable consumers of electricity that the energy sector was gradually moving out of debt.
He said the payments formed part of the government’s efforts to address the woes of the sector and it was clear that the government had demonstrated its commitment to addressing the financial challenges of the sector.
The Minister said the government had also made some payment to the ECG under the COVID-19 power subsidy policy.
He announced that the provision of the subsidies was ongoing throughout the country “and customers have demonstrated and testified that the power relief is actually real.”
In his sixth address to the nation on COVID-19 response, President Akufo-Addo announced a ¢1 billion power relief package for Ghanaians.
“We’ve decided on further measures of mitigation for all Ghanaians for the next three months, that is, April, May and June. Government will fully absorb electricity bills for the poorest of the poor, i.e for all consumers. That is free electricity for persons who consume from 0-50 kilowatt-hours a month for this period,” the President told the nation.
In addition, President Akufo-Addo said the government would also absorb 50 per cent of electricity bills for consumers in residential areas as well as those engaged in commercial activities during the period using their March 2020 bill as the benchmark.
He said the decision was part of additional measures being taken by the government to mitigate the impact the outbreak of the virus was having on the public.
Source: Daily Graphic