Monday, April 15, 2013

Future of Ghana’s Electricity and Water Situation


Source: Emmanuel Mawuena (kmawuenah@gmail.com)

The lip service in our country is getting out of hand. What kind of country are we living in? Ghana, the acclaimed gateway to Africa, is seriously in limbo and needs support. This self-acclaimed status, gateway to Africa, is merely an erroneous assumption that is far from reality.

However, over the years, leadership has capitalized on the relative peace in the country and has succeeded in making us believe that our situation is far better off than other African countries. However, a little observation of prevailing situation in Ghana cast a shadow of doubt over this assertion. You only need to travel a little or read a little more to agree with me. For instance, in spite of our feat in football on the continent, we had only two stadia by the year 2002.

Even though Ghana as a developing country is not exempted from developmental challenges bedevilling its ability to meet the needs of citizens, mind-boggling questions regarding leadership commitment in this direction remain unanswered. This article takes a look at years of electricity and water crises in the country as well as the rhetorical approach to dealing with it.

Ghana can best be described as a country of irony because, although it cannot provide electricity and water for its own people yet boasts of exporting these utilities to neighbouring countries.

Unreliable power supply and load shedding over the years have become part of the country. Industries, hospitals and educational institutions as well as households are being affected resulting in low productivity. But it is interesting to note that this is the same country, which has been busy over the past two decades supplying electricity to neighbouring countries.

Unfortunately, while foreign currencies are being grabbed through the export of electricity, very little has been done in projecting and expansion works to meet domestic power needs.

Charity they say begins at home. There is also a popular saying that if you do nothing for your in-law you don’t rob him.

Unfortunately, Ghanaians are being denied of basic services over the years and are being robbed as well. Even though our problem in electricity and water can be traced to poor planning and lack of investment in line with population growth, the rhetorical approach of lip service in particular is adding insults to injury. Are we serious in this country? In August, 2012, I was stunned to hear that plans were far advanced for Ghana Water Company to export water to Togo.

This story was also carried on Myjoyonline and recently in the Water and Sanitation Times, entitled “Ghana-Togo water deal signed” where the then minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, E.T Mensah signed a deal on behalf of Ghana. As regards to this deal, Ghana was expected to export between 40,000-70,000 gallons of treated water every day to Lome - Togo.

Anyway we have entered into 2013 with a more precarious water problem. Are we serious in this country, Are we interested in serving our own people or interested in foreign currency whose impacts we are not seeing in the country anyway. At least one will expect that foreign currencies earned will be used to improve our situation; however, this has not been the case over the years either. The situation is rather slipping out of hand.

Another disgusting twist to the issue of electricity and water, which certainly does not fly in the face of objectivity, is its politicization. Even though politicians over the years have failed us, these same people have succeeded in playing games with Ghanaians around the same mess just to win power.

Political parties particularly, NDC and NPP are always trying to take credit or discredit each other for the woeful electricity and water situation. If any political party is to be credited at all then it should be Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s CPP. If He could plan and built Akosombo dam with a population of five million then what have we been doing over the years? God help us.

We need a paradigm shift from the breakdown, fix and repair culture to a complete and a comprehensive overhauling of our utility system. We need big, radical and decisive decisions in addressing the problems. We need political commitment and allocation of appropriate resources while demanding performance from those in charge.

We also need to look at alternative sources of power such as solar energy. Ghana must be made a better place for us to live. Our first responsibility is to our own people. Long live Ghana.

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