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04.12.2019 General News

Debt Owed GRIDCo: MD Calls For Calm Among Angry Staff

Debt Owed GRIDCo: MD Calls For Calm Among Angry Staff
LISTEN DEC 4, 2019

The Managing Director of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), Jonathan Amoako Baah has called for calm among staff of the company who staged a demonstration at the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.

Some staff of the Company staged a demonstration against the Ministry of Finance and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) on Tuesday over huge debts owed the company by some state agencies.

The protesters who massed up at the Black Star Square said the indebtedness of ECG and the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) to GRIDCo was crippling operations of the company.

As part of their industrial action, the staff threatened to begin a strike on December 10th if their concerns are not addressed by the government.

But though the Managing Director of the Company, firstly clarified that the protest by the staff members was not sanctioned by authorities of the firm, he said they have put plans in place to handle the situation at hand.

Mr. Baah who spoke on Eyewitness News on Tuesday said “We are aware of everything that they are doing and we have put in place everything possible to obviate any issue or situation that may arise. We are on top of our game. But I am hoping that we are not going to get there. I'm not sure we will get to where they want to take us,” he stated.

Mr Amoako Baah responded affirmatively when questioned as to whether he was positive that engagements with the government will yield good results so the planned strike action by the staff members does not happen.

He further stated that the Ghana Grid Company's operations have not been in any way affected by the abrogation of the PDS contract as alleged.

“That is something that is between the people who engaged PDS. For me, whoever that is the distributor, I collect my money from,” he said.

Staff demonstration

The workers of the Ghana Grid Company who embarked in a protest to demand the monies owed them by government and other companies threatened to continue with their series of industrial action if nothing is done about their concerns.

The staff in their petition to the Finance Ministry said the Ministry must act on a directive by President Akufo-Addo to make available to them some GH¢250 million to help them pay the debts.

They also said that the Ministry must order VALCO to settle its US$33 million debt to GRIDCo.

The National Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of GRIDCO, Raphael Kornor also said that failure by the ECG, VALCO and NEDCo to defray their debts could plunge the country into darkness following the possible withdrawal of service by the staff of GRIDCo.

“From 10th December if nothing is heard from this petition as to the payment, we are going to embark on a sit-down action at our GRIDCo premises to impress on management to start disconnecting all those who owe us.”

GRIDCo to keep working over staff agitations

The Board Chairman of Ghana Grid Company, (GRIDCo), Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, had earlier stated that the leadership of the company has put in place measures to ensure that the company's mandate as the backbone of power delivery in Ghana remains consistent .

He said this after the Senior Staff Association of the Company held a press conference demanding payment of unpaid debts totalling over GHS1 billion from key institutions including ECG, VALCO, and NEDCO.

They asked the staff of the organization to withdraw all emergency services to push the government to settle the debt owed the company by ECG, VALCO, PDS, and NEDCO.

However, Mr Amihere assured the senior staff that management is hopeful that if debts owed it are cleared, it would be profitable in the coming year. Settle debts owed GridCo

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has asked the government to immediately settle the power sector debts that are affecting operations of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo).

The Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, Adam Mutawakilu said that the President needed to intervene in the matter.

“The morale of the staff is not sound because of frustrations. They will not be able to out their bests to ensure the lights are on and therefore President Nana Akufo-Addo should not take us back to dumsor… He should resolve all the challenges facing GRIDCo, extended to ECG and NEDCo with immediate effect.”