Former deputy minister of power, John Jinapor, has rubbished President Nana Akufo-Addo’s description of the separation of the petroleum ministry from power by the previous government as senseless.
Announcing the merger of the two ministries under the ministry of energy at the Jubilee House Tuesday, Akufo-Addo said: “In my view the separation doesn’t make sense, so we can have one person at the top of all the various institutions to have a bird’s eye view to ensure the efficiency and the development that we want.”
He had since nominated Boakye Agyarko as the minister-designate to head the Energy Ministry.
But speaking Thursday in an interview with Starr News’ Naa Dedei Tettey, Mr. Jinapor repudiated the president’s claim, clarifying that the separation was “…a very wise decision” that former president John Mahama took and that “the results are there.”
“At the end of the day the most important thing is the results and the end justifies the means and clearly everybody can tell that look there is a remarkable improvement in the power sector,” he added.
Nonetheless, continued Mr. Jinapor, if president Akufo-Addo believes that combining the two is what will ensure that he achieves his target “fair enough.”
“Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and let posterity judge us…and let’s see how it goes,” he stated.
Citing stability in the power sector, Mr. Jinapor tasked the Akufo-Addo-led administration to uphold its promise to reduce electricity tariffs during electioneering last month.
The cost of power remains a major concern for domestic users and business operators.
Akufo-Addo in the run up to last year’s presidential and parliamentary polls promised reprieve for power consumers, describing tariff increment under the previous government as “insensitive.”
Explaining the previous government’s decision behind the increment, Mr. Jinapor said: “We thought that there were two options—either you pretend to subsidize and not have the power available or charge some amount of realistic tariff and make the power available.”
“But our brothers on the other side – that is the NPP made a lot of noise about it. In fact, they stated that the taxes were obnoxious; stated that the levies were unwarranted and that when they come to power they’ll scrap them immediately,” he recounted.
Fortunately, he said: “They have the power. The taxes alone constitute 10% of the tariff. The VAT component which is paid by commercial users…is about 17% or 15% and so for businesses that is about 27% of the power you buy.
“So if you have a reprieve of 27% that is significant. Let me also be frank with you it is not that easy but they say they would do it. They have indicated that they’ll cut waste and they’ll reduce the tariffs. They have the power. Let’s wish them well and hope that they’ll be able to deliver their promises.”