Former President John Agyekum Kufuor is optimistic that Ghana can grow its energy sector to become an exporter of power on the African continent.
According to him, the huge deficit in power supply on the continent, presents an opportunity for Ghana to earn foreign exchange through direct supply to countries such as Nigeria that have a great need for power.Kufuor, however insists that government must ensure that there is enough supply to meet local demand.
He made the comment in an interview with Citi News on the sidelines of the re-branding of Strategic Security Systems, a solar manufacturing company in Tema.
“The world is run on energy, essentially electricity. We understand there is a huge shortage of energy supply around our continent. In West Africa alone, it is about 40 gigawatt. That is a lot, so if we think of generating electricity as an export commodity, of course, we satisfy the local market, but with some to spare to our neighbours,” he said.
Former President Kufuor added that, although Ghana already exported power to its northern neighbour, Burkina Faso, it needed to consider exporting power to Nigeria, whose demand is greater and can earn Ghana more foreign exchange.
“Already, Ghana is exporting about 100mw to Burkina Faso, but if we focus on Nigeria with all its resources, Ghana might export easily 1000 megawatts, and the returns, hard currency earnings we get from that might even exceed what we get from our very traditional export like cocoa,” he said.
The former president urged the government to heavily invest in the sector to ensure its growth and capacity to become a leading power exporter.
We’ll save $7.2bn from 11 terminated power deals – Agyarko
He also called on the government to support private power companies to help them scale up and produce more for local consumption and export.
The advice by the former President comes at a time when Government has abrogated some eleven power contracts.
Ghana is expected to save $7.217 billion from the termination of 11 Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) over a 13 year period, the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko has said.
These terminations, following a recent review, will come at cost of $402.39 million, Mr. Agyarko told Parliament on Friday.
NPP ‘stopping’ Ghana from exporting electricity – Mutawakilu
Following the termination of the contracts, a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in Parliament, Adams Mutawakilu, has accused the Akufo-Addo government of impeding former President John Mahama’s vision of making Ghana a net exporter of electricity.
“They have narrowed it to the national demand, per the minster’s [Boakye Agyarko] response. He never included government’s vision to make Ghana an energy exporter or a power exporter, and I think that we need to look at it broadly than just limiting it to Ghana’s needs.”
“Currently, we consume at peak 2225 MW, but currently we have 4500 MW… if we don’t take time, the vision President Mahama had for this country of being a net exporter of power might not be achieved,” Mr. Mutawakilu added.
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana