Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mahama Ayariga, has stated that if Ghanaians are indeed willing to pay any amount for the constant supply of electricity, then they should be willing to buy generator sets.
According to him, the perception that citizens are desperate for power and would thus pay any amount for the constant supply of the commodity is untrue.
This, he said, is the reason why the government is working to ensure every Ghanaian will be supplied with electricity at an affordable price although that dream would take a while to materialize.
“People are not willing to pay high cost of electricity at all cost. If they were willing, the current cost of having electricity is to have a private generator.
“People are not willing to get electricity at all cost so we have to make sure that we supply the commodity to people at a reasonable cost and that is why we must have a collective generation programme…and that is what we are trying to do and it will take time,” he remarked.
The Bawku Central Member of Parliament on Citi FM’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue revealed that he has never used a generator set until recently when the Sports Ministry forced him to do so.
According to him, he made that political decision because it was imperative for him to feel what the masses were experiencing with the power crisis.
“I just made it a political point not to [use a generator] because I kept telling people that if I am the Minister and there is a problem and people are sleeping in darkness, the best you can do is also sympathize with them by sleeping in the darkness. So yes, I have lived the problem,” he said. Ghana has been battling with severe energy challenges for about three years now.
The situation has intensified as citizens now enjoy 24 hours without light and 12 hours of electricity supply.
Although this is the schedule the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has given to the public, some areas are reportedly experiencing over 72 hours of no power supply.
This has affected many businesses and has resulted in low productivity and the loss of thousands of jobs.
Many however complain that government is failing to urgently address the problem because government officials have generator sets in their homes and offices.
But Ayariga insisted that that public perception is untrue because he knows how it “feels and in all the places I have lived, I have never used generators.” According to him, it is until recently that he started using a generator set in his home.
He explained saying, “the official bungalow I was given, there was actually a generator there but I think it broke down and frankly speaking, because I don’t use a generator, I never fixed it.”
“…if you ask the entire neighbourhood, they will tell you that most of the time when the lights were off, in my house too, the lights would be off because I told people that I didn’t feel comfortable. It was actually recently that the Minister of Sports insisted on sending somebody to go and fix it because sometimes, I need to work at night. So I understand,” he added.
The former Sports Minister stressed that every member of government “regrets the situation” because “we all know how many businesses cannot function effectively because they have to resort to other energy sources which are more expensive.”