Government is opting to allow the 250-megawatt (MW) Africa and Middle East Resource Investment (AMERI) deal to run until end of April 2021, Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), an energy think-tank, has told the B&FT.
Government through the Volta River Authority (VRA) was to resume ownership of the thermal plant from today, February 1, 2021 when the five-year US$510 million Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement expires.
A deputy Minister of Power under the erstwhile Mahama administration, John Abdulai Jinapor wanted government to put in place all necessary protocols to ensure a successful take-over of the 250-megawatt (MW) Africa and Middle East Resource Investment (AMERI) thermal power plant by VRA.
Jinapor in a Facebook post on Saturday ahead of the deadline Sunday said government must ensure it undertakes a seamless process leading to the take-over without further delay.
But according to Mr. Boakye, government is rather opting for an extension to allow it to defray an outstanding balance of US$92million due AMERI. The amount includes a US$36million debt and US$56million in no cost extension, and it is understood that government wants to use the next three months to settle this amount – in addition to conducting a technical audit to ascertain soundness of the plant.
The extension will however come as an additional liability to the state, as government will have to pay AMERI maintenance and operation fees until it is finally ready to assume ownership.
“This could have been avoided,” he lamented, adding that “the process could have been smoother if we did the renegotiation early,” and urging the government to stay focused on fulfilling all terms of the deal so as to avoid another extension.