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Coalition Calls For Joint ECG Venture
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Richard Nyamah
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The Coalition of Stakeholders on the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) Concession has called on government to reconsider the option of a joint venture in its negotiations on the concession of the power distribution company.

The coalition, consisting of stakeholders in the power sector, indicated that the commercial enterprise, if undertaken jointly by ECG and the new company, instead of a total hand out to a new company, would not only ensure that Ghanaians benefit from the agreement but also secure the labour rights of workers.

Mr. Richard Nyamah, Convener of the coalition, addressing a stakeholders’ forum in Accra said there is a loop hole in the current law to transit from ECG to a foreign company or a new company.

“Government has come up with a plan to second ECG workers in what is termed grand fathering under which all ECG workers will be seconded to the new company and they will work as usual and have all their rights,” he said.

However, Mr. Nyamah noted that under the labour law  Act 615, sec. 51 there is a problem in that session which does not favour the workers who are part of the coalition, a situation which has called for the workers to oppose the concession agreement and to opt out of the entire process.

He said as the law stands now, if government should go ahead with the agreement it will have to terminate the employment of workers which means paying them off and putting them into a new company and not seconding them as it is being suggested.

“Government also will have to re-fence the debt of ECG so that the new company is not going to carry that debt burden. If government was to pay redundancy to ECG workers again the bill will have to be borne by the consumers,” he noted. “And for us we thought that Government cannot do that.”

Mr. Nyamah thus suggested that for government to escape the double burden of terminating the employment of ECG workers and paying redundancy before reengaging them, “let’s make a termed joint venture which means that ECG is going into a sort of joint agreement with the new company that it will provide its workers, but, it will be part of the company so ECG gets 10 to 5 per cent share and is responsible for evaluating the performance for the next 20 years.”

In that case, he explained, ECG will then second its close to 6000 workers to the new company, and government will not be required to pay any money in redundancy to anybody.

He said the forum was thus to let Ghanaians and government know the risk the country stands if a consensus is not arrived at on joint venture.

He also called on government to engage the local stakeholders to come to a consensus on the issue especially on what happens after the agreed period of 20 years.

“The agreement is for 20 years and after that what happens; are we going to get back to the ECH? Nobody is thinking about that and how it is going to be continued.”

We are saying Ghanaians are going to own 51 per cent of the new company and how they are going to do that is not known. We need modalities and agree on certain things,” he said.
Source: Daily Guide

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