The World Bank has advised Ghana to swiftly develop and implement an emergency action plan to address the challenges plaguing the energy sector.
Ms. Anna Bjerde, the World Bank's Managing Director of Operations, emphasized the urgency of implementing the plan to prevent any further disruptions to economic growth.
During a media briefing at the end of her first working visit to Ghana since assuming her position in April, she expressed the Bank's readiness to provide technical and other forms of support to help Ghana tackle the energy sector challenges.
Ms Bjerde warned that if the challenges persist, electricity generators may be unable to sustain production, leading to interruptions in power supply and negatively impacting economic growth and the well-being of the Ghanaian population.
She highlighted the significant costs Ghana incurs in the energy sector, particularly on the generation side, and stressed the importance of ensuring a smooth flow of funds from collection to the generation of electricity.
Failure to address these issues promptly could result in increased expenses for the government to sustain the energy sector while also diverting resources from other critical areas.
The World Bank Managing Director recommended that specific attention be given to addressing challenges in metering, billing, and collection systems to enhance revenue recovery.
She suggested that customers who refuse to pay may need to be disconnected. The Bank is providing technical advice on these matters, including the establishment of an account for revenue flows.
Ms. Bjerde also urged Ghana to strike a balance between increasing electricity tariffs and safeguarding the vulnerable population, while adopting global best practices such as regulation and Private-Private Partnerships (PPPs).
To ensure a comprehensive approach to the emergency action plan, Ms. Bjerde called for increased collaboration among the Ministries of Finance, Energy, Gender, Children, and Social Protection.
She emphasized the Bank's wealth of global experiences that can be leveraged but stressed the immediate need for the implementation of emergency measures over the coming months.
Country Director Pierre Frank Laporte also urged the Ghanaian government to capitalize on the Bank's West African Power Pool (WAAP) to address the challenges in the energy sector.
The WAAP facilitates the pooling of power systems among the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries, promoting the efficient use and sharing of affordable and sustainable energy resources within the region.
Mr Laporte further encouraged the government to develop robust plans and invest in renewable energy sources to ensure the production of cheap and clean energy.