The government has sounded its intention to review the US$500 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) support for the country’s energy sector. The Senior Minister-designate, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who dropped the hint when he took his turn at the vetting of minister nominees of President Akufo-Addo, alleged that there were issues with the agreement that needed to be reconsidered. For instance, Mr Osafo-Maafo said the aspect compelling the government to find money to pay off the total debt of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) before releasing it to a concessionaire was not the best for the country. “Now if we pay the total debt of ECG and we find Ghanaians with good management skills to run it, won’t that be a better option?” he quizzed. Agreement The compact, which was signed in August 2014, focuses on introducing independent power producers and private distributors into the electricity supply chain, as well as allowing private sector participation into ECG. The government signed the second MCC Compact named: “Ghana Power Compact” as part of measures to improve the power sector in the country. Labour The Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU) and the Public Services Workers Union (PSWU) of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) have raised concerns about the deal which they claim is not in the best interest of the country. In a position paper, they suggested that the government and the MCC should adopt a phase approach for privatising ECG. They have often argued that there should be room for reform interventions initiated by ECG itself to become fully operational and assess their impact on the company’s efficiency and profitability. The unions maintained that the proposed approach under the compact II to solve the challenges facing the power sector did inure to the country’s interest. In their view a wrong diagnosis of a problem will bring about wrong prescription which will not solve the problem. Last-minute appointments Mr Osafo-Maafo again alleged that the previous government carried out new appointments and awarded some contracts contrary to agreed rules towards ensuring a smooth transition. He said the government would consider the various circumstances such as whether the vacancies were advertised by law and how the process evolved to warrant appointments.-GB
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