The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has been told to intensify its effort to retrieve debts owed by state institutions.
Member of Parliament for Pru East Dr Kwabena Donkor said they should make sure that all institutions that are owing even if it is the Supreme Court or the Jubilee House, pay.
“They should do more, including the Jubilee House, the supreme court building, Parliament,” the former Power Minister said on the Ghana Tonight Show on TV3 Tuesday, March 21.
Dr Kwabena Donkor also said the ECG itself should be partly blamed for the debt owed by institutions.
He accused the state power distributor of previously succumbing to pressures from government institutions to act in retrieving its debt.
Dr Donkor said regarding the causes of the debt of the ECG that “It is an attitudinal problem. A lot of government institutions think there is one central government and that there can be debt settlement… there used to be an agency settlement arrangement but that is no more.
“ECG is partly to blame, previously it has succumbed to all sorts of pressures from government institutions. When I was the Minister of Power we put the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Finance on prepaid, once you put them on prepaid they can’t accumulate debt unless there is a fault, that is the challenge.”
The ECG has been embarking on a debt recovery exercise since Monday, March 20.
The company said that it has introduced a digitalized system to ensure the amount of money received from the debt recovery exercise is monitored directly by the Managing Director of the company.
The task force visited institutions such as Parliament, the Ghana Arprort Company Limited (GACL) and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) as part of the debt recovery.
Speaking to journalists after the exercise on Monday, March 20, the External Communications Manager of ECG, Laila Abubakar said “The national task force is the one that is in charge of the state-owned enterprises, the ministries, departments and agencies and so we have been going with them, we visited Parliament House, they were owing about a GHS13million they have committed to paying GHS8.5million, we saw evidence of that.
“We went to the Ghana Airpot Company, they owed arrears of GHS28million of which they made GHS10 million payment instantly just when we got there so we have given them 48 hours to make the full payment.”
She added “Now, we are here at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, they also owe in arrears of about GHS6 million but they have explained to us that because of the way they run their operations they wouldn’t be able to cough out the money for us instantly, they have had some discussions with the Minister of Information and the National Media Commission together with the Ministry of Energy and there was some sort of agreement last years. However, ECG’s point is that there has not been any movement on the debt that is remaining.
“They have explained to us they have a system and they are going to get some money and pay because they have to find innovative ways of coming up with the money and so we have been giving permission to leave them for now for 48 hours.”
The ECG has also been disconnecting homes and industries over debts.
Laila Abubakar said “In Tema, we have received photos of disconnections happening in residences, we have received photos of them in some of the industries in Tema and they are being disconnected.
“I am hoping that by the end of the day, we should be able to see a lot of money coming in into our accounts.
“Our system has been digitized in such a way that by the end of the day the Managing Director will be able to see how much we have recouped from this exercise and so we will report in a timely basis how much we are making on a weekly basis.”
Gov’t to restrict importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products
The government is set to lay before Parliament today, November 21, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.
The items, numbering over 20, will include rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie” in Ghana), and diapers.
The government said the move is part of efforts to enhance local production.
Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”
He emphasized, “By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”
He announced the introduction of the Ghana Standards Authority Regulations 2023, which also seeks to streamline the manufacturing of cement to ensure competitive pricing.
Mahama doesn’t understand 24hr economy; don’t vote for him – Bawumia
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says former President John Dramani Mahama does not understand the 24-hour economy policy he is proposing.
According to the Vice President, that policy is already being implemented in the country, as hospitals, fuel companies, among others, operate a 24-hour system.
Dr. Bawumia, therefore, urged Ghanaians to ignore Mahama during the 2024 polls since he has nothing new to offer and vote for the New Patriotic Party.
“John Mahama says he has a new idea. What is the idea? He says he wants a 24-hour economy. He doesn’t even understand that policy. Today in Ghana, our hospitals work 24 hours, our electricity company works 24 hours, our water company works 24 hours, our fuel stations work 24 hours, and many chop bars work 24 hours. Today because of digitalisation, you can transfer money 24 hours, you can receive money 24 hours… So he doesn’t understand his own policy. It doesn’t make sense.”
“So I want you to vote for me in 2024 because I will bring a new vision, I will bring a new policy. Mahama is the past, Dr Bawumia is the future. If John Mahama was there, we would say we have a dumsor economy, you can’t have a 24-hour economy in dumsor. So, you want to vote for Dr Bawumia in 2024, we will take the country to new heights,” Dr Bawumia stated.
Bagbin rebukes IMF over alleged pressure to pass some bills under certificate of urgency
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of pressuring the House to pass a number of bills under a certificate of urgency.
Mr. Bagbin cited bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, which is allegedly being pushed by the IMF as part of the conditionality for the balance of the $3 billion credit facility for Ghana.
Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Meeting on Monday, Alban Bagbin insisted that the House will not be coerced by the IMF to pass the bill.
“Even in this budget, you can see the arm of the IMF in a lot of provisions in the budget. A critical bill like the Affirmative Action Gender Equality Bill has come to Parliament under a certificate of urgency. Please, it won’t happen; we won’t pass it under a certificate of urgency.”
“There are critical stakeholders we must consult and make sure we go together. We will not be dictated by the IMF; that one, you can be assured. This is a very critical bill that the IMF should know that we need the buy-in of the stakeholders to be able to implement it,” Alban Bagbin said.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into law, would seek to expunge the historically low representation of women in decision-making spaces and promote democracy and development through all-inclusive participation.