Ghana: GRIDCo Workers Demo to Demand Gh¢1.1bn Debt

4 December 2019

WORKERS of the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) yesterday embarked on a demonstration in Accra to press home their demand for about GH¢1.1billion owned the company by its major customers and the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Clad in red and wielding placards, they petitioned the MoF to immediately release some GH¢250 million that President Akufo-Addo directed it to pay GRIDCo seven months ago, upon request, to enable the company address its financial challenges.

It also asked MoF to order the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG); which they petitioned separately; Volta Aluminum Company Limited (VALCO) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) to clear their debts promptly.

Otherwise, the workers who have been agitating since last month, threatened to lay down their tools beginning next week Tuesday and converge at the GRIDCo head office until all monies due them were paid.

According to them the ECG owed about GH¢642,112,501 as at October, 2019; including the outstanding debt of about GH¢ 607million before handing over to Power Distribution Service (PDS).

There is also a debt of GH¢ 94,204,903.17 which ECG collected during the suspension of PDS while VALCO owes about $33,194,228 as at October, 2019 with NEDCo indebted to the tune of GH¢211,390,448 as at October, 2019.

The workers who converged at the Black Star Square in Accra before embarking on the demonstration in the ministry's enclave, carried placards some of which read " GRIDCo is bleeding", "NO ELSA money = dum dum", " lack of maintenance means more dumsor" and ECG/VALCO Debt is killing GRIDCO."

In two petitions signed by Raphael Kornor, National Chairman of the Senior Staff Association (SSA) and Francis Adjartey, Divisional Union Chairman, the workers said some ongoing projects had stalled because of its financial situation.

This, it said meant the company could not evacuate the quantum of power needed for the country next year per forecasted annual load growth while it would not be able to maintain equipment which were "sitting on a time bomb".

"The resultant impact of this is that the country could be plunged into darkness if GRIDCo is not financially resourced to deliver the ever growing demand of electricity," it said.

Aside staff welfare concerns, the petition received by the Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei Asare, after minutes of agitation by the workers, said the company's debtors were on its neck while tariff reduction had affected it.

It described as unfair the failure of MoF to execute the President's directive seven months on, whereas the Volta River Authority (VRA) had $550million received from funds raise through the Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) bond, to settle its debts.

In the petition to ECG, the GRIDCo workers reminded the company of its dependence on GRIDco and expressed concern about the sudden slow rate of debt payment after it took over from ECG.

Addressing the workers and media after Mr Kornor, National Chairman of the Senior Staff Association (SSA) said they were seeking the company's financial freedom and not even threats of job loss would stop them.

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