Energy Minister, Peter Amewu says the NPP-led government overpaid debt owed power distributor, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) as at the end of 2019.
Government in fact paid ECG in excess of 500 million cedis, the minister said on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. He was speaking at the regular media briefing organized by the Information Ministry in Accra to update Ghanaians on the Covid-19.
“The NPP government from assumption of office, it ensured that it was current on all the bills incurred during its tenure from 2017 to date, on the average, the government under His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has paid 2 billion annually to cover its bills with the Electricity Company of Ghana. Today, at the end of 2019, all government bills with ECG had been paid and government had a credit balance of 500 million cedis with ECG,” Peter Amewu told the media.
President Nana Akufo-Addo early April announced a 100 per cent absorption of electricity bills for the poorest of the poor who consume up to 50 kilowatt-hours a month and a 50 per cent for those whose consumption is above 50 kilowatt-hours.
This was to cushion citizens against the effects of the coronavirus pandemic that has taken a heavy toll on businesses, rendering thousands unemployed.
The Energy Minister on April 16 said the electricity package will cover about 86 per cent of Ghanaians who are hooked onto the national grid.
Government was expected to spend 1 billion cedis to finance the electricity relief package the president announced for the months of April, May and June.
Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah later told Parliament that part of a US$ 1 billion loan government secured from the IMF would be used to pay for the Covid-19 electricity subsidy for Ghanaians.
Mr. Peter Amewu told the media on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 that “Government has already made some payment to ECG as a result of COVID-19 subsidy regime introduced for a period of three months.”
He pointed out that Ghanaians have already started enjoying the subsidy, noting, “I am happy to announce that, that process is ongoing”.
He recalled that when the NPP administration assumed office, government was confronted with a “huge indebtedness” to the Electricity Company of Ghana to the tune of 2.63 billion cedis as at December 2016.
Averagely, he said, since the NPP government assumed office, it has paid the power distributor 100 million cedis a month, “the credit balance of over 500 million cedis is enough and more than enough to pay for government bills from January to April 2020.”