Some employees at the Volta River Authority (VRA) are livid over government’s decision to sell off the Authority’s thermal plants.
They say they will do everything possible to resist the sale of the plants and other company assets.
Government has advertised the sale of at least a majority stake in specified thermal plants owned by the VRA.
The advertisement, which was placed in the Daily Graphic indicated that the sale forms “part of government’s efforts to restructure the energy sector.”
“As part of government’s efforts to restructure the energy sector and optimising the operational efficiency of the power SOEs, a number of policy measures are being explored. Key among these measures is government’s consideration that separating VRA’s thermal operations from its hydro operations will improve their ability to favourably compete with other power generating companies significantly and return it to profitability,” the advert said.
Workers who spoke to citifmonline.com on condition of anonymity said the advert was placed in the papers without the knowledge of VRA.
They say government intends to sell off VRA’s thermal assets, estates and other non-core assets.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta indicated private sector involvement in restructuring the VRA when he presented the 2017 budget in Parliament, saying a new entity will “hold” the VRA’s thermal assets.
“Mr. Speaker, as a government, we are committed to achieving a least-cost power generation infrastructure through accelerated private sector participation. This will partly involve the restructuring of the power sector by bringing all hydro generation exclusively under the Volta River Authority (VRA) and creating a separate thermal market.. A new entity will hold the thermal assets which are currently held by VRA and make available a significant portion of this entity for private sector investment in pursuit of its private sector participation policy,” said the Minister.
He re-affirmed it in the mid-year budget , saying “Mr. Speaker, one key intervention that Government promised in the 2017 Budget Statement was the restructuring of the Volta River Authority (VRA) to bring about increased operational efficiency and private sector investments in the power . Government has approved the VRA restructuring agenda submitted by the Ministry to Cabinet and processes towards the implementation of the restructuring agenda have begun under the coordination of the Finance Ministry.”
In 2016, employees with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) embarked on a demonstration to protest the then NDC government’s plans to privatize ECG.
After a series of demonstrations however, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government decided to review some portions of the agreement , explaining further, that it was a concession and not an outright sale.