Ghana’s power firm staff stage protest over planned privatization

The staff of the Electricity Company (ECG), Ghana’s major power distributor, on Wednesday began a three-day boycott in protest of the government’s plan to allow private sector participation in the company.

The boycott is supposed to last for three hours each day across all regional offices of the firm.

On Wednesday, the workers, clad in red and black attire, reported to their offices but refused to work in the morning to indicate their resistance towards the planned privatization.

The protest left clients who had visited the offices to transact businesses stranded.

According to the workers, who are members of the Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU), should the concessionary deal be allowed to go through, it would have dire consequences.

“Privatization comes with its own problems. Enough is enough, they have privatized a lot of government institutions and nothing has changed,” said Richard Nyaba, Deputy General Secretary of the PUWU.

But the government has defended the proposed takeover of the management of the company by a private entity under a concessionary deal following years of ECG’s failure to remain solvent.

President Mahama has said privatizing the company is the best way to ensure its smooth operation even though the trade unions of Ghana have kicked against the move, calling on the government to rescind the decision.

Thirty-three companies have already expressed interest in the concession arrangement to operate ECG for 25 years from 2017.

Under the deal, government’s partnership with the private sector will help the ECG collect its debts more efficiently and transform it in terms of technology and efficiency in power distribution.

 

– XINHUA

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