Abrogating Ameri power deal difficult – ACEP cautions



It will be very difficult to abrogate or renegotiate the Ameri power deal until allegations of underhand dealing between the previous government and the Ameri group is established, the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), has indicated.

A 17-member committee, set up by the Energy Minister, has disclosed that Ghana was made to pay an extra $150 million dollars in commission to the AMERI Group to deliver a power plant in the heat of Ghana’s power crisis.

In an interview with Citi News, the Deputy Executive Director at ACEP, Benjamin Boakye, said the contract is already in full operation and will be nearly impossible to review it.

“They should blame those who negotiated the contract for not listening to Ghanaians and for causing this financial loss to us; and I think that is where our focus should be. At this point, Ameri will only be magnanimous to say that maybe I would like to continue doing business therefore I am willing to negotiate the contract, but we cannot compel them to renegotiate the contract because it was just based on our own negligence.”

Mr. Boakye indicated that, a cancellation will only be possible if there is evidence indicating that there were indeed some shady dealings that could cost the nation.

“Unless we get any fresh evidence that suggests that there was some underhand dealings that actually cost this country that money or there was some collusion  between  our officials and that of Ameri on which basis we can activate a renegotiation or a cancellation, it will be difficult. At this stage, I am afraid the contract is in force and we would have to abide by the terms of the contract.”

He wondered the feasibility of cancelling the contract, especially when both parties had agreed and met the terms and conditions.

“The contract that was signed, they have delivered on the contract, they have brought the turbines. The turbines are working and delivering power to the grid, so if you have to cancel it, then you have to face the penalties in the contract, which means you have to pay them the money.We will have to focus on how do we get answers from our own people.”

ACEP also cautioned the Akufo-Addo government to take a cue from the findings of the committee on power deals and be transparent in subsequent negotiations.

“We need greater transparency in the way some of these contracts are negotiated because they add up to the cost of electricity. If you poorly negotiate and the plant is so expensive, you have to pass it on the consumer and you are hurting businesses, you are hurting consumers because price volatility would have to go up and that will affect the entire economy. Once electricity is expensive,  productivity also goes down and therefore the number of taxes you expect to get you will not get it, so government should be mindful of that and  be transparent about how  we contract some of these power plants so we can get value for money.

By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana

 



Published on 30 March 2017 | 12:59 pm at Source