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COVID-19 to blame for rural electrification delay, says government

The Ministry of Energy says the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the rural electrification programme in most parts of the country

William Owuraku Aidoo, the deputy energy minister in charge of power, has explained that delays in completing certain rural electrification projects in Ghana stem from delays resulting from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

He was speaking in an interview with Asaase News about various interventions being rolled out to ensure efficient delivery of energy to Ghanaians.

“The rural electrification is going on very well … the companies that are in the rural electrification projects are mainly Chinese companies and, as we all know, COVID-19 affected the Chinese economy big time. Factories closed down. And so it has caused some delays in implementation of the rural electrification,” he said.

He added: “The ministry has taken the trouble, led by my good self, to go to most of these affected communities [which] should have been enjoying power now, to explain to them why the delay and explain to them with evidence that a cabinet decision has been taken, parliamentary approval has been given and commercial agreements have been signed.”

Aidoo said the project has resumed in some communities, and offered the assurance that other areas will follow shortly.

“I will use this medium to [urge] all communities that the project is being rolled out now and they should have patience. Now that COVID has gone down they will be seeing the contractors coming to electrify them up,” the deputy minister said.

85% coverage

The Institute of Energy Security said this week that access to electricity supply across the country has witnessed a decline over the past three years.

However, the deputy minister said Ghana’s rural electrification coverage is now in excess of 85% and will soon reach 90%.

“As I speak with you, Ghana is rated as number one in sub-Saharan Africa in rural electrification, which is something that we ought to be proud of,” Aidoo said, adding that some of the projects are almost ready and will be commissioned soon.

Fred Dzakpata

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.
Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995
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