ECG disconnects former Ghana’s President John Mahama from electricity supply

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Electricity Corporation of Ghana (ECG) has abruptly disconnected domestic power supply due to non-payment of accumulated bills by the former President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama. Many state institutions were also affected by the disconnection for failure to pay their bills which has caused financial losses to the ECG.

Cable News Network (CNN), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Reuters, Al Jazeera News, The Bild newspaper, South Africa Bantu Newswire, Daily Graphic and The Moscow Times and many local and foreign media across the globe have all reported the perennial power crisis and the disruptions in this small west African nation with an estimated population of 32 million.

Just imagine the big bold headline captions in the foreign media. Mahama’s domestic electricity supply disconnected for non-payment of bills – CNN, Mahama is the reason the ECG is insolvent. He has not paid electricity bills since he left office – Aljazeera News, Irresponsible Mahama causes financial losses to ECG – Adom Online, Mahama owes huge sums of money to ECG, what a bloody shame –, Ex-president busted for failure to pay electricity bills in Ghana – The Moscow Times.

The headlines continued: Ghana Ex-president, John Dramani Mahama, owes so much money to a local electricity company in Ghana. Ex-German chancellor Angela Merkel embarrassed – The Bild newspaper, John Mahama’s unpaid electricity bills. He thought he could run from his obligations. Now he has nowhere to hide – Daily Graphic and Ghana’s former president has disgraced himself. He owes several sums of money to the local electricity company – The South Africa Bantu Newswire.

Former President John Dramani Mahama has however explained that he inherited the energy crisis (Dumsor) from the previous government administration, but took responsibility for the problem and solved it somehow before leaving office in 2016. Before his political administration, there were Presidents Jerry John Rawlings, John Kuffuor and Atta Mills, all the three passed away.

Speaking to delegates of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on April 14, Mahama who is seeking to be elected flag bearer of the NDC said “In 2016, I wouldn’t say Ghana was a paradise but our situation was far better than it is today, and further indicated that the energy crisis has been ‘a generation problem’ therefore his government invested in power generation as part of the solution.

“In 2016, our colleagues the NPP told a lot of lies about us, they labelled us as incompetent and they came with a lot of big and sweet promises to the people of Ghana and used that to persuade the people that they will be a better government than we were. And so the people of Ghana tried them by voting for them, they said they should try them and that was the mistake the people of Ghana made because we have come to realise that after all the ‘we have the men. we have the men’ it was station boys, they don’t know anything,” he said.

He added that “If you take our ministers who were running this country in 2016 and compare them with their ministers who are running Ghana today pound for pound, our ministers were far better than any of them. We solved many difficult challenges, ‘dumsor’ was not created by us, it was lack of generation capacity over the years, and so when we came into office we were confronted with it, we did not run away, we did not shift the blame to somebody.”

While the small West African nation is praised as one of the most stable African democracies, the state of its economy has not been as impressive amid a sharp currency depreciation, a deteriorating macroeconomic imbalance, rising inflation, and a deepening energy crisis, Al Jazeera News reported.

The report added that 159 days of blackout that the country experienced last year is the most striking sign of this crisis. Entire neighbourhoods switch off in an instant. Without a public load-shedding schedule, the patchwork electrical grid often leaves one side of the street in darkness while those on the opposite side have light.

The giant Volta River Project, built in collaboration with the United States and with the support of the World Bank, would be able to produce vast quantities of cheap power, boosting the creation of a modern, industrial state – at least in the development dreams of the country’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah. More than 3,000 people were employed – and over 80,000 people displaced – to make room for the hydroelectric project, which formed the largest man-made reservoir in the world, Lake Volta.

Despite that, Ghana’s energy crisis affects everybody. Families and businesses, hospitals and universities, factories and shopping malls. The private and the public. “It reduces productivity: the fan is off and you may have to go out of the office when you don’t have a generator. Or you have to go and buy a generator, and buy diesel or gasoline for the generator, so it increases the cost of operation.” said Ishmael Ackah, head of policy at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy and a lecturer in Economics of Energy at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi.

Many experts have blamed political, economic and energy crisis which spiral negative sentiments and discontent on mismanagement. For example, a renowned American Professor of Economics, Steve Hanke has chastised Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta for mismanaging the Ghanaian economy.

Professor Hanke who is a hard critic of Ghanaian authorities in a tweet was surprised about Ofori-Atta’s position that he’s disappointed foreign lenders have been slow to act in supporting Ghana’s quest to get a programme from the International Monetary Fund.

“As 33 African countries suffer from record debt burden, Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta is disappointed that foreign lenders had been ‘slow to act’ but instead of recognising mismanagement, he is blaming creditors for Ghana’s debt burden,” Professor Hanke concluded.

Ghana with a population of over 32 million, is located on the coast of West Africa. A unitary presidential constitutional democracy with a parliamentary multi-party system is dominated by 2 parties: the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

It has an economic plan target known as the “Ghana Vision 2020”. This plan envisions Ghana as the first African country to become a developed country between 2020 and 2029 and a newly industrialised country between 2030 and 2039. This excludes fellow Group of 24 member and Sub-Saharan African country South Africa, which is a newly industrialised country.

As of 2019, Ghana was the 7th largest producer of gold in the world. It is a leading producer and exporter of cocoa to Europe. It is the 2nd largest producer of cocoa globally. According to the President Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghana was “the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve the goal of halving poverty, as contained in Goal 1 of the Millennium Development Goals.”

Three U.S. presidents -Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama and recently in March 2023, a Vice President – Kamala Harris made diplomatic trips to Ghana. Since independence, Ghana has been devoted to ideals of non-alignment and is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement. It favours international and regional political and economic co-operation, and is an active member of the United Nations and the African Union.

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