Group Bashes Mahama Over Defense On Proposed Privatization Of ECG
The Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas has condemned President John Dramani Mahama’s argument on the privatization Electricity Company of Ghana, explaining that the President got it wrong by drawing a “comparison between liberalization of an entire industry, with the privatization of a state enterprise.”
President John Mahama at the opening ceremony of the 2016 edition of the African ICT and Mobile expo justified the need for the privatization of the ECG, stating the company was a problem that needed to be fixed.
However, Coordinator of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, Steve Mantey, says the arguments put forward by the President were incoherent.
“There is clearly an inherent confusion in the comparison between liberalisation of an entire industry, with the privatisation of a state enterprise. If what is being proposed for the electricity distribution sub-sector was liberalisation, in which case other players would be licensed to compete with ECG, then the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas will have no qualms in supporting such plans, as there is evidence to support the assumption that competition under proper regulation could result in efficiency and lower costs to consumers. But this is unfortunately not the case,” he pointed out in a statement issued yesterday.
According to the statement, “the type of privatization that often hands over the management, and sometimes the assets of public companies to private entities often referred to as ‘strategic investors’, have never ever worked in this country. We can cite Ghana Airways under Speedwing Ltd. of U.K.; Aqua-Vitends Rand in the water sector, and several other divested state enterprises that have seen the transfer of ownership to foreign interests in the name of Private Sector Participation (PSP), and have failed.”
It added: “We agree with the President when he suggests that we must fix ECG’s problems, but we find it a bit strange, that he attempts to equate “fixing the problem” with privatization. Our understanding of ‘fixing the problem with ECG’ is doing what Mr. Kwame Awuah Darko has done with the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST) and what he is currently doing with the Tema Oil Refinery, but not the easy option of privatization.”