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ECG receives $15.89m to improve revenue mobilisation

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Mr Andrew Egyapa Mercer (middle), a Deputy Energy Minister, assisted by Mr Steve Marma (right), Resident Country Director, Millennium Challenge Corporation, cutting a tape to open the new meter management system

The Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) has installed a $15.89-million modern revenue collection technology for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Known as the meter management system (MMS), the technology will enable the ECG to reduce non-technical losses and improve on revenue collection.

The MiDA provided $11.19 million for the project under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) second compact with Ghana to improve the energy sector value chain, while the government contributed the rest of the funds.

The new MMS, which allows interoperability across different metering systems and manufacturers, would enable the ECG to reduce the cost of providing metering services.

The MMS also makes it easier for prepaid customers to purchase credit from anywhere within the power distributor’s operational areas, as opposed to the zonal arrangement that currently exists.

It will also provide timely information on how customers are using electricity and, most importantly, report faulty meters which are returning inaccurate billing or inform the ECG if a meter has been tampered with.

At a ceremony in Accra yesterday to hand over the system to the ECG, the Minister of Energy, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, observed that the most important policy decision of the government was to ensure a reduction in distribution losses and improvement in system reliability.

He said related to that objective was the continuous effort to support power distribution companies to modernise their metering infrastructure and data collection systems for enhanced revenue mobilisation.

“This policy decision is underpinned by some key challenges in the distribution sub-sector, which include high prevalence of poor or obsolete metering infrastructure, the lack of harmonisation in metering technologies on the part of ECG’s multiple suppliers, wrong billings — over-billing, under-billing, wrong customer data — all occasioned by near-obsolete meter management system,” the minister said.

Dr Prempeh identified other challenges as intermittent internet failures which frustrated prepaid metering vending operations, consumers suffering the inconvenience of the occasional long queues and delays when buying prepaid units and high commercial losses due to theft by some consumers who would rather bypass their energy meters owing to the inconveniences posed by those challenges.

Power compact

The Board Chairperson of MiDA, Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, in a speech read on her behalf, said the goal of the power compact was to reduce poverty through private sector-led economic growth.

She said one of the vehicles for achieving the goal was the ECG financial and operational turnaround (EFOT) project, meant to improve and sustain the ability of Ghana’s major electric utility company to provide reliable power to fuel economic growth.

“The mix of activities under the EFOT project is intended to reduce revenue losses and under-billing and ensure that the ECG recovers its operational costs and invests in maintenance and expansion, without additional financial support from the government.

“For this reason, the EFOT activity includes reduction in commercial losses and improvement in revenue collection rates, as a sub-activity,” Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu said.

She said the MMS was an important and timely investment, at the request of the ECG, to assist it to reduce non-technical losses and improve its revenue collection rates.

It was a solution to current challenges with multiple meter types, procured from a variety of meter vendors, none of which could communicate with another, the MiDA Board Chairperson said.

One-stop-shop

The Board Chairman of the ECG, Mr Keli Gadzekpo, said the MMS was a one-stop-shop for effective monitoring and management of all the metering systems operated by the ECG.

He said with the new MMS, the company would be able to develop a good database for easy access to information.

“This move, we expect, will result in the reduction of financial losses and increase revenue for the company,” he said.

Eye witness to any social issue,occurrence or any form of information you would like to share,kindly send us a report via email : editor@modernnewsgh.com or via Phone +233246319949

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Private sector has capacity to absorb youth job seekers – Oppong Nkrumah

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Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has reiterated that the private sector has the capacity to absorb the country’s teeming youth seeking for job opportunities.

According to him, even though a vibrant public sector can provide some number of employments, the main purpose of the government is to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs to flourish in the private sector.

He argued that even the most efficient public service cannot be a substitute for the role that the private sector and entrepreneurship play in helping answer the questions of economic fortunes as a nation.

“Orienting our people, that it lies within our own hands to innovate, develop technologies and solutions that make our society better off, as against waiting for an expansion of the public sector to accommodate all our interests, is a challenge which however we have not met very well as a nation.

If entrepreneurship, private business, innovation and technology is what will be a most significant pillar in economic recovery, then our best energies, our best attention, must be directed there,” Mr. Nkrumah made this remark at the opening ceremony of Day-2 of the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) in Accra organized by the B&FT.

He explained that entrepreneurship is the most significant instrument that can get the majority of the people, particularly the young, economically engaged and rewarded, thereby, calling for a renewal of the mindset and encouraging the youth to venture into it and take advantage of the good policies initiated by the government.

The information minister further said that entrepreneurship, when taken seriously, will enable the country build its own products and services, thereby, increasing exports to improve the balance of payment position of the economy.

Making some recommendations, Mr. Nkrumah said the conversations around entrepreneurship, its prospects, resolving its bottlenecks and highlighting its rewards must be mainstreamed as one of the most important conversations in this country.

He advised that public conversations on traditional media, digital media and all other platforms must reflect what citizens believe is the most important value driver for economic transformation.

“We cannot spend all our times discussing allegations and suspicions of one another. We cannot spend all our time comparing pastors, debating partisan political positions, and for the younger ones, we cannot spend all our time amplifying social media beefs and expect that entrepreneurship will gain its pride of place”.

He added that to stem entrepreneurship in the minds of the youth, the education system should include entrepreneurship in the curricular of every level of schooling.

“My point is that whatever we choose to include in academic curricular, one field of academic work which I believe should now be taught across all levels of education as a core subject just like literacy, numeracy and science, is entrepreneurship. So that no matter what else a Ghanaian child has studied, he / she is also equipped with the basic orientation to use that technical knowledge even in building on their own, a business out of it,” he said.

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah, however, stressed the need for government to step up its efforts in promoting entrepreneurship, despite programmes that are already in existence to achieve the purpose.

“I believe we all can agree that looking at the enormity of the challenge ahead, we need to quadruple our efforts as a country at the minimum. We need to provide avenues for more technical support, patient capital and paradigm orientation if truly we want to see more young people take up entrepreneurship. Government policy, must be bolder and larger and more focused in support of growing entrepreneurship in Ghana and indeed across the continent,” he said.

Source: thebftonline.com

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Government to re-examine entry points of market centres for more accessibility – Akufo-Addo

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Government has said it plans to re-examine entry points to market centres in order to make them accessible to all and especially fire officers.

According to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, this has become necessary to avert the destruction of property and livelihoods in case of fire outbreak which has often made it difficult for fire tenders to gain access and douse the fire.

“I am really saddened by the fire incident that destroyed your market. When tragedy occurs, we take steps to rectify it and prevent its reoccurrence. I understand the Ghana National Fire Service had difficulties in accessing the market so we will take a look at all the entry points to markets in the country so this does not repeat itself.”

The president said this while addressing a gathering of affected traders at the Akim Oda Central Market as part of his just-ended tour of the Eastern Region.

He assured that government will take all the appropriate steps to avert future fire occurrences in market centres and support the affected traders through the Ghana Enterprise Agency and MASLOC.

“The government will support all traders who were affected by the fire incident. You will receive support from the Ghana Enterprise Agency and MASLOC to help you recover quickly,” Akufo-Addo said.

Meanwhile, on Monday September 13, 2021 parts of the Akim Oda Central Market were gutted by a fire incident. This led to the loss of property worth thousands of cedis belonging to traders.

Though fire officers were called to the scene, there were unable to gain entry into the market due to the access points and nature of the market.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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BOG to stop circulating GHc1 and GHc2 cedi notes

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The Bank of Ghana is withdrawing the GH¢1 and GH¢2 notes from circulation and leave their respective coins for use.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) yesterday, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison said “both the GHC1 note and the GHC2 note would eventually be phased out because they are not cost-effective in terms of the printing cost.”

“These are notes that circulate very widely, and they come back very torn and soiled and they are very difficult for our currency processing machines to process,” he said.

The Governor said “We have bales and bales of GH¢1 notes that we are not able to process. So the view for the longer term is to more or less get out of the GH¢1 and GH¢2 notes and use the GH¢1 and GH¢2 coins.”

Dr. Addison also said “You will recall that this is a note [GHC2] that was issued as a commemorative note … Commemorative notes are not notes that you continue to print.”

“And, therefore, what we have done in the last two years is to introduce the GH¢2 coin. You would expect that, eventually, it would more or less play the role that the GH¢2 note is playing.”

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