Workers of Ghana Water Company Ltd (GWCL) are appealing to President Akufo Addo to buy out the Desalination Plant of the company to save it from accruing further unnecessary debts, describing it as a rip-off.
In a petition to the President signed by Mr. Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi, Secretary General of the Public Utility Workers Union of Ghana, the workers aver that, the continuous operation of the plant would result in operational loss to the water supply company.
“Since the commencement of the operations of the Desalination Plant in February 2015, it has not contributed anything to the finances of GWCL but only a major drain on the coffers of the Company,” the statement pointed out.
According to them, the construction of a Desalination Plant has never been part of the Strategic Development Plan of GWCL thus was technically and financially flawed from the onset since it began at a time the Kpong Water Supply Expansion Works had started in 2012.
“The Desalination Plant was a needless intervention. However, political influence was brought to bear on GWCL to ensure the construction of the Desalination Plant,” the petition claimed.
The workers explained that, in 2011 Befessa Desalination Development Ghana (BDDG) Ltd was incorporated with shareholders consisting of Abengoa of Spain (51%), Sojitz Corporation Japan (44%) and Hydrocol (5%) for the purpose of constructing a desalination water plant.
The plant, estimated to cost 126 million dollars, was to produce 60,000 m3 /day as compared to the Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project estimated at 273 million dollars with funding from the Government of Ghana and China Exim Bank to produce 200,000 m3 daily.
“The Kpong Water project was designed to meet the deficit required to improve and sustain water supply to Accra, which includes Teshie-Nungua, ” the statement clarified, adding that, there was therefore no need for the desalination project.
They alleged that the Agreement signed on 25th February 2011 was skewed in favor of the private investor as against the interest of GWCL.
“GWCL is required to pay capacity charge of US$ 1.4 million per month to Messrs Befessa. This charge is payable whether the plant is working or not. Again, GWCL is obliged to pay the Electricity Bills of the Desalination Plant, which stands at an average of GHC 3 million per month (for 2017),” they claimed.
The workers recalled that they sent a petition to the then President Mahama to intervene but nothing came out of it.
GWCL has been paying debts with monies that should be used to build the capacity of the workers and improve equipment for operations, as a result of that agreement. The Company is being forced to secure a loan of US$ 10 million to defray the accumulated capacity charge.
Workers of the Ghana Water Company Ltd are appealing to the President to let Government buy out the plant to serve as a standby facility to save the company from further losses.
Alternatively, they want government to secure a loan on behalf of the Company to buy the plant out and pay back over a period of time.
“The proposed arrangement that the current shareholders of Befessa want to sell the Plant to AVH: an American Company should not be supported by the current government,” they proposed stating categorically that, “This is nothing but another trap by private investors to exploit a State Company”.