Shouldn’t we rethink this controversial renegotiated AMERI deal?

The Chairman of the Economic Management of Team, Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, met members of the Economic Management Team last week amid the hue and cry about the proposed AMERI deal that government has re-negotiated, and was conclusively convinced that the revised deal is not in the best interests of the country.

In fact, it was Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who in 2015 accused the then-Mahama-led administration that it was not being transparent with the people of Ghana with regard to the AMERI power deal government then entered into – saying it was a rip-off.

He actually said the deal smacked of corruption and that it failed to ensure value for money. Well, with government changing hands in 2017 and the Vice-President himself chairing the Economic Management Team, hope was that Ghanaians would be offered a deal wherein value for money would be the foremost consideration.

Originally, the AMERI deal should have elapsed in the next two years, but government hastily renegotiated a revised deal beyond 15 years – much to the surprise of energy think-tanks, ACEP and IES who raised severe concerns about the new deal.

Senior staff of the Volta River Authority (VRA) also kicked against it strongly, and a debate was generated. This must have prompted government to take a second look at the deal. A close confidante of the president, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, in a Facebook post said the president was misled about the revised deal; and not too soon after, Dr. Bawumia is said to have described the contract as one that doesn’t make sense.

We are grateful as a people that government gauged the reactions of key stakeholders and took a second look at the deal, and noticed that it indeed is not in the best interest of the country. Public outcry prompted government to give the deal a second look, and it has agreed in principle that the deal in its revised form needs better appraisal.

We commend government for the forthrightness it displayed in admitting that probably it hastened too fast in renegotiating the AMERI deal and would have to look at the options available to it, to assure the Ghanaian populace that it is acting in its interest.

We believe broader consultations may be required to get the best deal available in the open market, and government can draw on the expertise of knowledgeable Ghanaians in the energy sector to derive the best deal in our national interest.