My Joy Online protest
ECG workers protesting over planned privatisation. Image credit: My Joy Online

On Thursday, a gathering of workers from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) initiated a protest against the power company's planned privatisation at it's offices nationwide.

My Joy Online reported that the protest was done on the day that workers  mark this year's Public Service International Day.

ECG decision to improve service

According to the Ghanaian government, the company's move to privatisation will prove effective in consumer service delivery.

But the government is highly indebted to the ECG, including a $500 million debt which Public Utilities Workers Union has identified as a cause of the company's financial struggles. Government's $500m debt to ECG constitutes between 60% to 70% of all ECG’s debts.

President John Mahama recently said to Ghanaians: “You fix a situation by taking risks. It is a risk we took when we deregulated telecommunications. If you are not ready to take risks then the world is not ready to make progress."

According to My Joy Online, Accra-based African think tank, IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, has led calls for privatisation of at least 80% of the power distribution company, adding that this move will stimulate much needed competition.

Worker frustration

According to media, a portion of the public are against the move and are accusing government of crippling the company through political interference.

One ECG worker, Ali Baba Idi told Joy News Online that they are calling on government to rescind its decision: "We have always said that the concession will not help us nor the Ghanaians in any way. That is why we are doing this (protest) to support the masses who are against the move."

Move to privatisation

Earlier this month, director of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), Mawuli Rockson, announced the decision to franchise the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

He noted that the move would provide the needed support and resources to revamp the power sector and end the energy crisis in the country.

Nana Osei Bonsu, CEO at the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), has expressed his support for the development that will enable the private sector to intervene in the operations of ECG.

According to news agency Footprint2africa, Bonsu highlighted that the regulations of the Millennium Challenge Compact states that ECG should be released to a private company for about 25 years.

He added that this time frame would allow other private entities to enter the distribution market and bring about competition.

 

Featured image credit: My Joy Online