The World Bank has advised the government of Ghana to carry out a dire crisis energy action plan to address challenges in the country’s energy sector.
Ann Bjerde, the managing director in charge of operations at the World Bank, said that the country’s energy issues were very serious and would get worse if they weren’t fixed, which would affect economic growth.
She stated that once the issues in Ghana are as severe as they are, if the perpetrators are not apprehended and dealt with through an emergency action plan, the situation will deteriorate, increasing the state’s costs for maintaining the energy sector at a time when additional funds are required for other purposes.
She further added that, the emergency energy plan should be far reaching, vigorous and zeroed in on interest in metering, charging and productive collection of revenue to guarantee a solid sector.
Ann Bjerde was in Ghana for a her three-day visit to the country.
While in the country, she had conversations with the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, VP Mahamudu Bawumia, and the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, on Ghana’s financial circumstance and the requirement for striking changes to address the difficulties.
One of the topics that received a lot of attention during the discussion was the need for immediate action to address the difficulties in the energy sector.
She also brought up the requirement for the the ministries of Energy, Finance, and Gender and Social Protection to work together to ensure that the implementation of the energy plan was done in a manner that protected vulnerable groups.
Ms Bjerde said the World Bank would offer master counsel on the most proficient method to coordinate social assurance into the energy plan to ensure that the vulnerable populaces were protected following levies increase related with the energy changes.
She further added that, it isn’t excessively complicated. Although it is difficult, it requires a great deal of consideration everyday to make it happen. But, if it isn’t addressed, the issue will get worse and cost the state more money.
She also said, the billing and collection of revenue would have to be efficient on the basis of proper metering.
“That way, you will know where the problems are. If you are providing electricity, billing for it and not collecting, you will know where the problems are then you can go and collect the revenue.
“If there are customers that just refuse to pay, you may also have to disconnect them,” she said.
Ms Bjerde said the World Bank was ready to help the country to carry out the plan by providing technical advice on what needed to be done in terms of the billing, metering and revenue collection.
She stated that doing so necessitated opening a separate account to hold all energy sector revenue streams. This will guarantee that those who generate electricity will be compensated for maintaining power supply.
The World Bank Managing Director, Operations, underscored the need for the government to look more towards bolstering public-private partnerships and exploring the possibility of outsourcing certain functions and other initiatives to cut energy losses.
“Energy that is lost should really be energy that is consumed and properly accounted for,” she said.
Continuing her speech, Ms Bjerde also emphasised the need to fix challenges along the value chain, especially by ensuring that independent power producers (IPPs) were paid, stressing that “without IPPs, gas production, distribution and transmission companies, we cannot sustain the sector”.
“Most of the costs in the energy sector are not on the front of the distribution company; it is on the generation side, so the money needs to flow from where you collected it back up to the generation of electricity. And if it does not, the generators cannot keep producing electricity, and you will end up with interruption of supply, and this will really cause more economic problems because economic growth will be impacted,” she said.
According to her, Ghana has enormous potentials to become an energy hub for the region.
She has entrusted the country to do the right investment to settle on transmission and interconnection concurrences with different nations that required power to the greatest.
She said one exciting area was to make a transition from conventional energy to renewables.
“There is a huge potential in solar energy, and around the world, what we have seen is that when countries shift to renewable energy, they will need to make commensurate investments in transmission and equipment because it requires investment to be able to accommodate renewable energy technology”
Ms Bjerde also encouraged government to look at developing local manufacturing capacities to have advantage in certain areas of growth.