CPP Warns Gov't Against Energy Sector Deregulation

The Convention People’s Party (CPP) wishes to caution government against moves towards full & complete deregulation of Ghana’s energy sector. To that end, the CPP is very unhappy with, & deplores the 5% increase in fuel prices as announced by Government last Friday November 30th 2009. This action points to continuing & full deregulation of the energy sector; a process which was started by NDC in the late 1990s, and subsequently continued “hook, line & sinker” by NPP. The CPP opposed the sale of strategic state assets during the last NPP administration; and it will definitely continue to fight such developments under the current NDC administration. In view of escalating poverty levels, increasing congestion due to growing drift from rural to urban areas, unemployment and general slowdown of activities in Ghana’s productive sectors, the CPP finds little justification for the hasty increase in petroleum prices as announced by Government. What we need as a nation is an appropriate level of state intervention that regulates the energy sector and allows it to be managed as an essential resource for national development. This principle is what CPP has always stood for. Progressive nations world-wide are adopting measures to protect their economies and citizens using where possible such interventions. It is therefore distressing that our own Government is seemingly rushing into adopting full scale deregulation of the energy sector. This errant process will in the long-run make Ghanaian industries non competitive, & further wreck the welfare of the already long-suffering Ghanaian. So far, there exists no evidence to suggest that if the energy sector were to be fully liberalized it would result in competition that would eventually drive down prices. Indeed In our type of environment the opposite may happen; putting vital institutions and infrastructure into the hands of carefully-crafted undesirable monopolies to the detriment of the ordinary Ghanaian. The CPP is therefore totally opposed to such full deregulation strategies. Indeed taken to its logical conclusion, such unbridled deregulation if left unchecked, will lead eventually to privatization of the Tema Oil Refinery( TOR), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) , Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Bui Dam. Whatever next? Surely Ghana cannot afford to travel this dangerous road! The CPP therefore calls on Government to review the full deregulation law, including a revision of the tax regime by finding alternative ways of raising taxes. We call on Government to devise creative measures, including tax breaks, bail-outs, interest rates reduction and greater levels of intervention to re-stimulate the system & alleviate the hardship of the economic meltdown on industry and on our ‘innocent” citizens. We also call on Government to give Ghanaians assurances that when fuel prices come down, prices will also fall correspondingly. Ghanaians should know & be rest assured that CPP is the party for the people, & that it will always fight doggedly for the interests of ordinary Ghanaians under any regime. Ladi Nylander Party Chairman (CPP) November 2, 2009