This Is Reprehensible

By Daily Guide
Editorial This Is Reprehensible

Our beef these days about the power challenges is that those who are appointed to manage the power utility agencies must live up to their assignments. Ghanaians want power to manage their livelihoods which requires that the managers are capable of keeping dumsor at bay.

If the room is too hot for the managers of our utilities, then the appointing authorities should relieve them of their duties.

Ghanaians dread the return of dumsor and therefore the government should look for the resources to keep power on 24/7.

We are of the view too that the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) must be watched to keep within its remits and make consequential orders that are reasonable.

While the people struggle to find solutions to their challenges, an interesting news emerged from the Board Room of the PURC. And all over the media space, especially social media is “have you heard the news? Members of the Board of Directors of the ECG have been slapped with fines of over five million Ghana Cedis for their failure to publish dumsor timetable as directed by the Commission”. It looks funny to us though. Perhaps the laws governing the operations of the PURC mandate it to do such a thing that we consider to be wonderful and crazy.

We need the carrot and stick style of corporate governance to deal with the rot and inertia in most of our state institutions. However, this looks like the PURC has stretched common sense beyond the logical limits. We must get serious with the conduct of our public affairs.

We thus expect the PURC to take pragmatic steps to resolve the power challenges but not populist ones to receive applause from a section of the population, including the NDC, so that they can scream that the canker called dumsor is back while we still grope in the dark for solutions.

The PURC in today’s Ghana is behaving like some politicians who think the autonomy of our state institutions should be used to fight the government. Just like Parliament whose Speaker decided to derail government business by its refusal to approve the President’s nominees for ministerial positions, the PURC also thinks machismo tactics would demonstrate to the public that it is working.

State institutions, no matter their autonomy, are to complement the Executive to bring relief to the people. It is not an opportunity to show the other where power lies or to boast about ones status like someone said, “I'm Number Three, what number do you play?” We urge all our state agencies and its heads not to carry their positions as a badge of honour but an opportunity to serve the good people of Ghana.

There is nothing wrong with the PURC to get back to the drawing board and tell Ghanaians that we were too overbearing in our decision to impose severe penalties on the directors of the ECG. From where we sit, we think the ECG’s explanations look sensible, and if the PURC thinks otherwise, the best thing the Commission can do is to assist the ECG to keep the power on.

The directors of the ECG were not serving personal ends on the Board. So why should they suffer personal damage for serving a public cause? What makes sense to us is for the PURC to recommend to the appointing authority, in this case the President, to sanction the members of the Board of ECG.

One seasoned journalist noted for proverbs once said when the handshake goes beyond the elbow, then it is something else.

The PURC has declared war on the government’s appointees on the Board. Mr. President, you better watch out. Some autonomous state institutions have served notice to make your administration unpopular.

We are firm believers in the separation of powers but such powers must not be used to undermine the Executive.

They must collaborate to compete but they must avoid the turf war among PURC, ECG and GRIDCo to create the environment for the “resurrection” of dumsor which was buried in 2017.