Energy reforms crucial for an industrial take-off…
Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko, at the maiden Ghana Energy Summit held in Accra yesterday, said government is working assiduously to ensure that affordable electricity tariffs are in place so that a business-friendly atmosphere is created.
The minister is aware that for some years now, industry has cited the high cost of tariffs for power as a disincentive for businesses to expand, be competitive globally and generally, operate cost-effectively. In fact, power shortfalls in recent times have seen growth plunge from 14 percent in 2011 to 3.5 percent last year (2016).
Therefore, power is crucial to realising an economy where the private sector is paramount in order to create jobs and drive economic growth. The two-day event is aimed at enabling investors and stakeholders in the energy sector to brainstorm and interact with the purpose of finding lasting solutions to the energy shortfall that has crippled economic activity for so long.
The Association of Ghana Industries’ (AGI) Business Barometer report, which gauges business confidence, has consistently cited the unreliable power supply, coupled with its prohibitive tariffs, as a hindrance to private sector development.
It is therefore welcoming that a forum dedicated to the energy sector should have the minister speak to this all-important matter, and government policies generally, towards building the ‘most business friendly’ nation in Africa as has been severally touted by President Akufo-Addo.
It is pleasing to hear the minister insist that all government buildings are to have solar rooftop panels in order to reduce electricity bills, which will also go a long way to increase the utilisation of renewable energy in the energy mix of the country, which currently is an appalling 1 percent, as against the target of 10 percent by 2020.
Government’s industrialisation programme can only succeed if there are cheap sources of energy to power the industries to be created in each district. Thus, as investors are making inquiries about the flagship industrial development programme, they would be keen to hear what packages are in place, to ensure regular and affordable supply of power.
The event closes today and we are confident that some match-making would be made and all the questions begging for answers in the energy sector would be catered to and addressed properly. Energy has become critical to economic development everywhere, and Ghana cannot an exception.