The Ministry of Power has discounted claims that it was bypassing Parliament to ask the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to provide funding to support plans to bring two power barges from Turkey to ease the nation’s power problems.
According to the Sector Minister, Dr Kwabena Donkor, the leadership of parliament has been briefed and it was left for them to invite the Ministry for the appropriate parliamentary committee to be briefed.
The Minority in Parliament last week raised concerns about a directive from the Presidency asking GNPC to provide funding for the move.
The agreement, said to have been reached between GNPC, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and an international power company, would make the GNPC raise US$100 million for the two barges.
The two emergency power barges are expected to generate about 450 megawatts (MW) of power to help stabilize energy supply in the country. The two power barges, each of which has 225 MW generating capacity, are expected in the country by the end of April 2015.
The Minority has described the request as outside the mandate of the state-owned oil giant and asked government to stay away from using the “back door”.
They subsequently called on the Minister of Power to bring the agreement to Parliament for scrutiny as required by law regarding international businesses of that nature.
But responding to the issue on Accra based Radio Gold Tuesday morning, the Minister of Power, Dr Kwabena Donkor disagreed that government was working at the blind side of Parliament.
He said the leadership of Parliament was well aware. “…I’ve spoken to the leadership of Parliament, they will invite me.”
“I’m not going to do a one item briefing, that is not the intention. I’ve been speaking to the leadership and unfortunately some of the people raising the issues in the public domain instead of through the usual Parliamentary channels are not in leadership. I’ve briefed the leadership on the appropriate timing to come and brief appropriate committee on the status of load shedding and related issues.
“As Minister responsible, my accountability is to the people of Ghana through their elected representatives in Parliament and I will meet Parliament, the appropriate committee and brief the appropriate committee.”
Asked whether it was not curious that the Ministry did not brief Parliament until the Minority raised the question, Dr Donkor said, “it is not just about this issue, I’m briefing the appropriate committee on the state of the power sector and all other issues would be taken.”
Dr Donkor, himself a member of Parliament for Pru East in the Brong Ahafo region, said threats by the Minority to go to court if the deal does not come to Parliament for scrutiny would not deter him and that he was proceeding to secure power for Ghana.
“Well I am not aware, I have not been served with any court proceedings and we are proceeding to secure power for Ghana as I have been directed by the president.”
He said the government as a whole was accountable to Parliament and that the executive arm of government accounts to Parliament on regular basis and therefore wondered why any Minister or Ministry would want to work on the blind side of Parliament.