Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WTF has the Ministry of Energy, Ghana ... done for Ghana so far?

Let's shake hands on this lie ...

“And what is a man without energy? Nothing - nothing at all.”
Mark Twain
A few months ago in May (2010), the Minister of Energy and his Deputy, made bold (as politicians often do) to state that a Renewable Energy (RE) Bill would be passed, HOPEFULLY, before this year is over.
(Follow the links to feast your eyes.)

Did he actually mean it, that declaration?
Did they actually INTEND to make it happen?

I doubt it … and I also doubt that they have contributed to the development of Ghana’s Energy Sector in any significant, nation-beneficial, worth-noting way; nor that they even intend to do so.
What about the oil find? And all proliferation of activities, jobs, and courses attached to it since it was declared?

First of all, I do not believe that the oil will bring in more revenue and more national development THAN the Renewable Energy (RE) sector of Ghana. I don’t believe that. Yes. I said it.
Secondly, the Ministry of Energy (MoE) did not put that oil there, in the ground, beneath the ocean, abi? They were not even the ones who found the oil … duh … they did not have the rigs, equipment, technology, the know-how … 
Thirdly, the proliferation of complementary activities … uh, 80% - 90% of the petroleum jobs are going to foreigners, and Ghanaians living in foreign countries (equals only a fraction of the salaries and monies paid in that entire job sector will be retained locally – in Ghana) … the courses and activities, not run by the MoE are they? Most are not even inspired and sustained by the MoE!

So, now that we are clear on those issues … back to explaining some of my points:
Why do I think that the oil find will not bring in as much revenue and national development as the RE sector?
Well, because 100% of the companies drilling, with the rigs, equipment, technology, know-how are NON-Ghanaian.
Ghana holds only 10% of the oil-stakes. Something tells me 100% less 10% equals 90% … and 90% sure seems to be a huge stake not to have, as the country in whose territory the oil-wells have been found. OR?
How many of the people employed by these foreign companies are Ghanaians? And how many of the fraction of Ghanaians employed in there, actually live in Ghana, for us to claim that their salaries and the taxes derived from those incomes, and their lifestyle expenditures will come in to add to Ghana’s revenue?
Go on … I’ll wait.

Okay, now I have to move on! :)
Now, in RE … within which we have Solar, Wind, Biogas, Rain-Harvesting, etc … the people living in the communities, the local pockets, the people themselves, and the nation of Ghana as a whole … will benefit from a proper exploitation of these infinite, natural (re)sources of safe, green energy and fuel compared to the sketchy "direct contributions" of the oil sector, and its devastating effect on the environment.

First of all, the environment is safer, more respected, and nourished by the people. By learning how to derive energy and fuel from these RE sources, the people acquire jobs, self-worth, AND money (income).
The local people and the community benefit directly from these sources of energy and fuel, and income and are developed gradually – by better/more facilities, being able to go to/continue their education, and being able to live somewhat better standards of life.
Since the income derived is mostly retained locally (mostly), the national GDP will ultimately taste that increment, will it not? And also raise the nation’s revenue levels, the global status per standards of living, and boost other economical relationships with the world.
The nation as a whole, will have several other minor reliable sources of energy and fuel, taking the huge load off the Akosombo dam and the Aboadze Thermal plant, as well as on any other government energy facilities the government has lined up … because they people are now tapping into safe, green energy sources.

We could even get so good at this, that like Egypt and South Africa, we could make an entire commercial activity out of these RE sources, even as far as exporting some out to neighbouring countries with an energy deficit.
See the cases of Egypt and South Africa  (and the amazing things SA is  doing with it), who are leading the pack in Africa and doing pretty well in cooking up large quantities of the types of green energy available in their countries. 
Please please NOTE how they both have Feed-in Tariffs, and note how in my blog post on the promise made by the MoE, I focused on the importance of the Feed-In Tariff, what it is, and how many people keep calling me to find out if it has been set, or whether the RE Policy, which contains that tariff has BEEN PASSED INTO LAW (the RE Bill)!!
A lot hinges on this Bill.

I could go on and on … but you get that the benefits, development of the nation, and income to the people is more direct and reliable in this scenario, right?

Not to forget that practically all this RE is 100% Ghana-owned green energy, unlike in the controversial oil finds … the same amount of monies being spent on oil drilling and petroleum technologies could have gone into RE technologies, courses, scholarships for the people of Ghana, just as is happening for the oil sector right now … and the passion and aggressiveness with which the MoE is pushing the execution and exploitation of the petroleum sector, could very well … and SHOULD very well have been applied to the Renewable Energy sector of Ghana … a long time ago.

But greed overcomes common sense and ethics, very often in the realm of politics, and the people in whose hands the people have placed their trust … squander it, and play water-bed sex-games with the people’s monies and resources … tee-hee-heeing (giggling) their way all through it.

WTF has the MoE done for us Ghanaians so far?
Well, there is the Petroleum Bill (of course) … waiting to be passed (as usual).
But wait … the RE Bill has also been lying in waiting, to be passed … about almost 2 years now (the same one the Energy Minister Oteng-Adjei and his faithful, mimetic cohorts spoke of attempting to try to try to pass into law before this year is over, remember?)
I bet you that fiver in your pocket … the Petroleum Bill might be passed first!

Okay, so Petroleum Bill has been ‘put together’ … what else has the MoE done for Ghana so far?
Oh oh! I know!
 …. They increased our electricity tariffs (and water as well), then took it down a little by a fraction with 2 decimal points … oh gee!
And since the tariff increase (the reason being to provide better services), we have really seen a good increase in quality and better service, yes? (NO!)
That’s already 2 big achievements for you, Mr. Energy Minister et al. You should clap for yourselves and throw a party … I’ll come.

What other achievements? What? If you find any, lemme know … I really really want to know.
Want to know why, a crucial ministry like one for ENERGY, has not seen it fit to set targets of import and achieve them for Ghana, with Ghana, for Ghana!
It is energy which makes civilizations, nations, countries … and makes them some mightier in strength and accomplishments than others. It could be the energy of the people, being harnessed to energize actual technological advancements … it could be energy sources which drive the country forward, power industries, transform lives, and develop the nation into a powerful, successful one.

We wait for you to pass our RE bill as you promised to try, Mr. Minister … and we wait for you to train the people, educate them, prepare them for a bigger Energy Age … because you know it is coming. 
And those countries who will be ready for that Age when it comes, will be the ones to survive the “mutation” of time and species … 
What have you done, or are you doing for Ghana?

What else, apart from your half-baked, minor ‘achievements’, is left for you to pretend to be busy about, Mr. Minister?
What else is there for you to actually delve into, in order for you to leave a legacy behind, Mr. Minister?
If not for us as a country, perhaps for your children and grandchildren? (you know this is a trick question … don’t you dare take that last option!)

In the meantime, there are 45 days left for you to make good on your word … pass the RE Bill, or tell us why you won’t make it this year, but as I always say:
Governments come and go,
Come and go …
But the people are always here,
Always here …

Leave a legacy, Honourable Oteng Adjei, and Deputy Ministers.
Leave a legacy …
Leave a legacy.


  1. That's right Mr Oteng-Adjei & his deputies. Push a little harder and pass the RE bill.
    Can't go wrong with its immediate & long-term benefits.

  2. Not just that (RE bill), but to leave a legacy for better Energy in Ghana, for Ghana ... to handle things right, and ensure the growth of our energy sector, and the enhancement of the entire nation and its people ... here I go again! :)

    Howdydo, Mike? Been a while.

  3. Hey Empress! Yes it's been a while. I'm doing well & using each of my heartbeats to the max.

  4. Good news. Just read the Renewable Energy Bill has been approved by cabinet.Question now is what's next?

  5. Nana, what's next is that Parliament NOW has to approve the bill ... God knows how long that process will also take, since the Cabinet approval took about 2 years. If we are lucky and Parliament passes the Bill into Law, THEN we are happy ... sorta ... because then we have to patiently implement the Bill and know what works, what needs tweaking, and allow it a few years to grow and find its natural level, so to speak. So what's next? Plenty. But hope abides. :) xx

  6. Yes, all that is true.With the current or imminent "Dutch disease" from our oil find, i just hope this process won't be dragged beyond tolerable limits.