An energy expert, Kwadwo Nsafoah Poku, says given the complexity nature of the Ameri deal and looking at how civil society organizations (CSOs) have demonstrated their understanding on the whole arrangement much better the politicians, it would be better if the CSOs are given the opportunity to re-negotiate the deal on behalf of the government.
Of particular importance in his proposal, is the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) which has been at the center of critiquing the entire agreement since 2015.
“The Government of Ghana (GoG) should give this deal to Civil Society Organizations and think tanks to renegotiate on its behalf and I think that Ghana will get a better deal. Politicians I think – we’ve gotten to understand that they don’t understand the initial deal that ACEP and the rest spoke about. There was a fundamental problem that ACEP had with the deal and they were referring to people to also come against this deal. They want to show you – you sit down with people like ACEP and find out from them what is it that they saw from the initial deal that was bad and what is it that they saw in the present deal that was bad. What could be done? If you get civil society organizations to renegotiate the deal, I think that we will get a better deal than getting politicians to do that,” he noted.
Speaking in an interview with TV 3, Mr. Poku explained that the deal is a complex one which will require those with technical expertise to lead in the re-negotiation exercise on behalf of the GoG.
“The deal is a complex one. Until we had this thermal plant deal, we hadn’t done that before. Most of the plants in Ghana are the ones that the Government has built by itself like the TICOs and the rest. But in terms of the emergency power plants, the emergency program – the Ameri, Aska and Karpower were ones that the nature of the deal, I think it was done in haste in the NDC and people who had problem with it had problem with the way the pricing was made. The per kilowatt per hour that Ghanaians are paying – everybody who spoke against this deal has also spoken against the karpower deal. People who speak against the Ameri deal has a problem with the per kilowatt per hour pricing that we are paying. This per kilowatt per hour is not something that you just come up with by magic. So, I think that the politicians who don’t understand that negotiations should get the people who understand the problem and ask them why the problem and start from scratch and negotiate”, Mr. Poku explained.
He added “Everybody is thinking that the plants are $150 million more expensive. What Ghanaians are paying is 14 cents per kilowatt per hour. Now, in that 14 cents per kilowatt per hour, what are the components that make up the 14 cents per kilowatt per hour? How was that patched up, how was the problem that ACEP had from the beginning? Now, we are all told that after five years, the machine now becomes the property of Ghana but it’s a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement which allows METCA to run that plant though the machine is owned by Ghanaians but METCA will run that plant over a certain number of years. Now, after the 6 years, we are told that we are going to pay 10 cents per kilowatt per hour and not the 14 cents because the machines are now for Ghana. In that 10 cents, you realize that there is still a capital recovery and the question is that if the machine is mine, why am I still doing capital recovery? Who is that money going t? If a machine is yours what you need is your Operations and Maintenance (O & M). In that 10 cent or 11 cents the Minister took to Parliament, only 1.2 cents per kilowatt per hour was for O & M which is the operation and maintenance of those machines. Only 1.2 cents per kilowatt per hour was going towards that. It means that all the others are for other charges and if the machine is ours it should come into play. So, the people need to understand how that per kilowatt per hour thing was patched up. Unless we do that we are negotiating in a vacuum”.