NANA ADDO Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has indicated that the biggest energy problem bedeviling the country is the continuous supply of electricity for both private and commercial consumption.
He outlined the problems in the energy sector as inadequate generation and uneven distribution of power as a result of obsolete equipment and lack of expertise.
The former Foreign Affairs Minister made this observation when he took his turn to outline his vision on energy at a special seminar series on energy dubbed “Flagbearers on Energy (FoE)”, organized for flagbearers in the upcoming polls by the energy centre and public lectures committee of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi.
The NPP presidential candidate, who participated in the seminar on Friday April 18 as the last of the four flagbearers including those of the Peoples National Convention (PNC), Convention People's Party (CPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC), said by the year 2015 the country's energy requirement would shoot up from the current rate of 1,400 megawatts to 3,000 megawatts.
Against this background Nana Akufo-Addo promised that during his tenure he would invest heavily in the electricity sector to ensure that the country builds the capacity to withstand the demand by the stipulated date.
This he said he will do by ensuring that obsolete equipment are replaced with more efficient and modern ones while securing the right expertise needed for effective work in the sector.
He stressed that his government would invite private hands in the generation and distribution of power to ensure that the Volta River Authority (VRA) does not continue to be the only institution that generates and distributes power.
The Abuakwa South Member of Parliament averred that the presidency under him would work painstakingly to ensure that electricity supply becomes affordable and reliable.
Nana Akufo-Addo, who commended the Central University College for generating its own source of energy, threw a challenge to other universities and the polytechnics to be innovative in producing their own energy as a means of lessening the burden on the national grid.
He promised that his government would show keen interest in this direction by allocating funds to such institutions that pick up the challenge.
The legal luminary, who is of the conviction that the country's economy cannot be strengthened without sustainable energy supply, revealed that his government would pursue a policy of diversifying the energy needs of the country.
He said apart from hydro, other forms of energy which include nuclear, bio-diesel, fossil cells and solar, would be generated with all the urgency by allocating funds for their research and institutionalization.
The NPP presidential candidate noted that with the country enjoying plentiful sunshine annually, he would promulgate a law to demand that new buildings are made solar-dependent to ensure that the nation benefits fully from sunshine.
He said owners of already existing buildings would be supported by the state to install gadgets that would make the buildings solar-dependent.
The Abuakwa South MP, who indicated that he would allow the private sector to participate in the refining of oil to complement the efforts of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), emphasized that his administration would manage the discovered oil deposits judiciously to ensure that the whole country and generations yet unborn benefit.
“My government will ensure that there is absolute transparency in the management of the discovered oil to ensure that the expected annual revenue of 1.8 billion dollars from 14.6 million barrels of crude oil is not misapplied.”
He gave the assurance that his presidency would not only fight the troubles associated with oil find but also pursue friendly environmental policies to ensure that the situation whereby the discovery of oil puts the safety of the environment at risk does not occur.
“My government will protect the environment to such an extent that in spite of the discovery, the environment will continue to be safe for habitation,” he said, stressing that as a government “we will ensure that the oil find becomes a blessing and not a curse as has happened in certain countries”.
Nana Akufo-Addo, who observed that during his reign as the first gentleman of the state he would personally ensure that every community was connected to the national grid, commended the deregulation policy and noted that he would religiously pursue the policy.
He stated also that mass transportation and the use of rail transport would be encouraged and given major boost to efficiently utilize fuel.
The NPP presidential candidate noted that his presidency would as well empower the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) to be able to perform its constitutional duty with perfection.
From Morgan Owusu & Fred Ibrahim Jnr, Kumasi