$100m ‘Mahama choppers’ spiked electricity tariffs – Damoah

The four helicopters purchased by the Mahama administration in 2015 to protect Ghana’s oil enclave, contributed to the rise in electricity tariffs, Nana Oppong Damoah, Head of Communications at the Ministry of Energy, has said.

According to him, the cost of the helicopters was factored into the pricing of gas in the country, thus, spiking power tariffs.

He, however, said when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took over the affairs of the country after the 2016 polls, most of the power purchasing agreements were re-negotiated for better deals.

The benefits, he said, had been passed onto Ghanaians through the reduction in electricity tariffs.

It is recalled that former president John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday 24 September 2015 commissioned four helicopters to police the Ghana Gas project and ensure adequate security on the nation’s onshore pipelines.

The four Z-9 EH helicopters which are operated by the Ghana Airforce were to, among other things, ensure that the $1 billion Atuabo Gas Processing Plant was protected.

“This four new jet 9 helicopters is historic because it represents a unique collaboration of two state institutions, the Ghana National Gas Company and the Ghana Airforce. The helicopters are meant for Ghana Gas pipeline surveillance, security of oil installations and allied operations but will be maintained and operated by the Ghana Airforce.

“The helicopter would assist in general security of all oil installations and our offshore oil fields and I’m happy because it will enhance our maritime security, our anti-piracy operations rebound casualty and medical evacuations, search and rescue operations, aerial photography and riot control,” Mr Mahama said at the time.

But speaking on the Executive Breakfast Show on Class 91.3FM hosted by Moro Awudu on Tuesday, 5 June 2018, Mr Damoah said: “When it came to the electricity prices for instance, it has to go through a process and in that process we discovered that Ghana had bought 4 helicopters at a whopping price of $ 100million. Cambodia, as a country, had purchased twelve of the same helicopters, same specs from the same company for $125million.

“The price of those helicopters was added to the pricing for gas so ultimately the gas that we are using for our electricity was a little bit more expensive because of how much we decided to purchase those helicopters.

“The price of transportation for gas from our own oil fields to Aboadzie through the Atuabo Gas Processing Plants was the same as the price for transportation of gas from Nigeria.

“All of these we had to take our time to look at them, renegotiate some of the power purchasing agreements and finally when we were done, we had made some profits which we had passed on to the people of Ghana. It is the same approach we are employing when it comes to petroleum prices.”

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