Government needs emergency energy plan – World Bank

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The government has been urged by the World Bank to swiftly implement an immediate emergency plan to address the pressing issues in the country’s energy sector. Ann Bjerde, the World Bank Managing Director of Operations, emphasized the gravity of the energy sector problems in Ghana, warning that they would worsen and have detrimental effects on economic growth if left unaddressed.

“Once the problems are at the level that Ghana has, if not arrested and addressed with an emergency action plan, things will get worse, and this will cost the state more to keep the energy sector running at a time money is needed for other things,” she said.

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During a media interaction in Accra at the end of her three-day visit to the country, Bjerde stated, “Once the problems are at the level that Ghana has, if not arrested and addressed with an emergency action plan, things will get worse, and this will cost the state more to keep the energy sector running at a time money is needed for other things.”

Bjerde stressed the necessity for the emergency energy plan to be comprehensive, robust, and focused on investing in metering, billing, and efficient revenue collection to ensure a thriving sector. While in Ghana, she held discussions with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta regarding the country’s economic situation and the urgent need for bold reforms to tackle the challenges.

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The World Bank Managing Director highlighted the urgent action required to address the energy sector challenges, emphasizing the importance of collaboration among the Ministries of Energy, Finance, and Gender and Social Protection to ensure that the implementation of the energy plan protected vulnerable groups.

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Bjerde also mentioned that the World Bank would provide expert advice on integrating social protection measures into the energy plan to safeguard vulnerable populations in the face of tariff increases associated with the energy reforms.

“It is not rocket science; it is difficult, it requires a lot of attention day to day to get it done. But it can be done. If it is left unattended to, the problem will be worse and will cost the state more,” she said. 

Ms Bjerde stressed that the billing and collection of revenue would have to be efficient on the basis of proper metering.

“That way, you will know where the problems are. If you are providing electricity, billing for it and not collecting, you will know where the problems are then you can go and collect the revenue. 

“If there are customers that just refuse to pay, you may also have to disconnect them,” he said. 

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