The Ministry of Energy has rejected claims that the renegotiated Ameri deal is worse than the original agreement signed by the government in 2015 at the peak of Ghana’s energy crisis.
Communications Specialist at the Energy Ministry, Nana Kofi Oppong Damoah, maintained the new deal currently awaiting parliamentary approval, was renegotiated taken into accounts the interest of Ghana.
Some experts, civil society groups and the minority in parliament have opposed the renegotiated deal describing same as worse than the original deal which the government heavily criticized when it was in opposition.
While in opposition, the New Patriotic Party claimed the original deal was inflated by over 150 million dollars and vowed to either abrogate or renegotiate it when it wins power.
Consequent to assuming office, the Akufo-Addo administration took steps to renegotiate the deal presented parliament for approval but a number of concerns have since been raised prompting Parliament to request for further details on the now AMERI Novation and Amendment Bill.
The passage of the AMERI Novation and Amendment Bill will mean the $510 million Ameri deal will be extended from its original five years to 15 years with the government committing over $700 million to it.
Responding to the criticisms of the renegotiated deal, Nana Damoah, justified the new deal arguing there is a looming crisis as government has breached the original agreement by not honouring its financial obligations.
“If you look at the original Ameri deal very well, government said it will assume 9 cents per kilowatts per hour of the cost, the VRA and ECG were supposed to pay 6 cents per kilowatts per hour but government has never paid that 9 cents, so in actual fact, the country is behind on payments by about $92,000,000,” he explained.
That, he claimed, puts Ghana at risk as the Ameri plant could be shutdown at any time.
“If they decide to also turn off the plant at this current moment great instability and others that it will cost a serious threat to ourselves”, he said.
He argued that the renegotiated deal sought “to take the Republic of Ghana out of the dangers that it has been exposed to in the original Ameri deal and ensure that we have a more stable and secure system that one company cannot get up at will and decide to mess up as and when they chose to.”
Nana Damoah added the figures contained in the contract were computed on some assumptions that did not materialize, hence the need for the renegotiation of the contract.
He explained that at the time the “contractual construction” was made, there was a timeline put on it assuming Ghana will make $102,000,000 every year but we’ve never been able to make the $102,000,000 every year.”
He further stated government at a point considered terminating the deal but “if the country decides to terminate the deal they will have to pay $370,000,000”, an amount he noted, can provide infrastructure for the Free Senior High School programme.