John Dramini Mahama
Ghana electricity access: President Mahama is pledging 80% coverage despite frequent blackouts in the capital Accra. Pic Credit: GhanaWeb

Ghanaian President John Mahama has announced that Ghana's electricity access will increase to 80% following the government completion of several electrification projects, local media reported today.

Mahama said that current electricity access is estimated at 76%, making the West African country the second leading country in sub-Saharan Africa with majority of the population having access to modern electricity.

“76% of our people have access to electricity and if we finish the current electrification projects that we are doing, Ghana’s electricity access will stand at 80%."

"80% of our people will have access to electricity and I know that the people of this area have not been left out because several communities currently are on the electrification programme”, Mahama pledged.

According to Mahama, six communities across Hilltop to Wapuli have almost all been electrified and nearly 10 communities from Saboba to Demong have too been connected to the national electricity grid. These projects are under government’s objective to reach the 80% target.

Nigeria cuts gas supply

Mahama's bold pledges however follow news that broke on 30 March that Nigeria had cut gas supply to the Volta River Authority due to Ghana's debts of more than $120 million.

According to Mining Review Africa, the gas cut is likely to cause a 600MW decline in power as gas is used to power the following thermal plants in Tema: Asogli Plant (220 MW), Cenit Plant (110 MW), Tema Thermal 1 Power Plant (110 MW) and Tema Thermal 2 Power Plant (50 MW).

Nigeria supplies Ghana gas via the West African Pipeline Company (WAPco) and according to World Bank, in 2013, WAGP delivered an estimated 32 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscf/d) of liquefied natural gas to Ghana.

Ghana's energy supply problems are increasing in the capital Accra, which experiences an estimated 12-hour power cuts on a regular basis resulting in local businesses having to scale down and reduce staff.

Mining Review Africa reported that the International Monetary Fund stated that the emergence of large fiscal and external imbalances, compounded by severe electricity shortages, has put Ghana’s economic prospects at risks.

A combination of increasing wage bills, rising interest payments and climbing oil prices have resulted in double digit fiscal deficits.

"Growth decelerated markedly in 2014, to an estimated 4.2 %, driven by a sharp contraction in the industrial and service sectors. This was due to the negative impact of the currency depreciation on input costs, declining domestic demand and increasing power outages," said Mining Review Africa.