Government has heeded the Ghana Grid Company’s appeal for help, and decided it will convert loans it has on-lent to the power transmitter into equity.
This means GRIDCo will not have to pay back an estimated US$140million of debt that government contracted on its behalf.
GRIDCo inherited about US$120million of the debt from the Volta River Authority, from which it was carved in 2008. The reason, GRIDCo’s Director of Finance, Issac Akesseh, explained to the B&FT, is that VRA contracted the loan for infrastructure development – for which reason the former was created.
Interest costs on loans and non-payment from its key customers like the ECG and VALCO meant that GRIDCo ended the 2017 year with a net loss of GH¢31million.
This is in spite of the fact that its total revenue of GH¢715.2million was 6.14 percent more than that of 2016.
At its AGM in Accra on Thursday, Board Chairman Kabral Blay-Amihere announced the establishment of a telecoms business unit to be known as GRIDTel, which will be a “carrier of carriers” by operating a national terrestrial fibre-optic network using its massive transmission infrastructure
Already, some of the telcos have latched onto this infrastructure that the company is now expanding.
“GRIDCo is poised to collaborate with stakeholders in the telecoms industry to bridge the digital divide in Ghana,” the Board Chairman said.
Present at the AGM were the Deputy Energy Minister, Joseph Cudjoe, and Executive Chairman of the State Enterprises Commission, Stephen Asamoah Boateng. They both assured GRIDCo and other state enterprises of government’s support to turn around their fortunes.
GRIDCo is exclusively licenced to operate the national interconnected transmission system. It owns and operates about 5,216 circuit km of high voltage transmission lines across the country. The lines carry power from various generating stations to 68 operational transformer substations, where the power is stepped down to lower voltages for bulk customers – ECG and NEDCo.