Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh leading giant stride at Energy Ministry

Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh leading giant stride at Energy Ministry

● Dr Mattew Opoku Prempeh

It is one thing being named a government appointee and another thing making an impact through hardwork and leaving an indelible mark on the minds of the populace.

There are lots of people who have served in various capacities under various governments who have been forgotten totally because of how poor they performed while in office.

History cannot be unkind to Dr. Matthew Opoku Prem­peh, Ghana’s Energy Minister, because of the impact he has made as the man in charge of the country’s crucial energy sector, as he has been able to confront most of the teething problems of the sector.

In 2021, when Dr. Prempeh was named by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to be in charge of the energy ministry, he was fully aware of the sector’s difficult past and had to confront it with alacrity.

The fearsome face of the energy sector made him to devise various strategies with team members of the various agencies under the ministry and set out to work and the results are what Ghanaians are enjoying today.

Dr. Prempeh, who is the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South, in the Ashanti Region, chalked incredible feat in his first year (2021) as the commander-in-charge of the sector and added more feathers in his cap by working extremely hard to achieve the best of results in 2022.

● Dr Mattew Opoku Prempeh

In 2022, the power sector witnessed massive projects that fed into the minister’s agenda of keeping the lights on in every corner of the country.

The power situation from Kumasi in the Ashanti Region to Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region has become best with the commissioning of 330 Kilovolt (KV) transmission line project. Kumasi and the northern part of the country now have stable power.

In June 2022, the Vol­ta-Achimota-Mallam lines were improved and upgraded with the commissioning of 161Kv line that has helped to stabilise the power situation in the southern sector of the country.

In that same month in 2022, the Kasoa substation, which is the second largest Bulk Supply Point (BSP) with a productive capacity of 435 Measuring Apparent Power (MVA) was commissioned, resulting in significant power improvement in the reliability of power supply to Kasoa and its environs in the Central Region.

The Ellen Moran Primary Substation located at Kan­da in Accra with productive capacity of 78MVA and the Legon Primary Substation with productive capacity of 52MVA, located at the Univer­sity of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC), were completed and commissioned in 2022.

With the development and promotion of solar power very dear to the heart of the minister, the Kaleo/Lawra Solar Project, with produc­tive capacity of 19 Mega Watts (MW), was completed and commissioned in August 2022 to add to government’s policy to increase the share of renewables in the national generation mix.

The power sector also witnessed the execution of Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) with some existing Volta River Authority (VRA) customers, including New­mont Ghana Limited.

The Energy Transition Framework was given an im­petus in 2022, as it was being developed to provide the path to achieving net zero emission by 2070, while ensuring eco­nomic growth and utilisation of Ghana’s natural resources.

The Framework was launched by President Akufo-Addo at the Climate Change Conference-COP27 in Egypt. With Dr. Prempeh’s aggressive and well-tailored programmes, Ghana’s elec­tricity access has increased from 87.03 per cent in 2021 to 88.54 per cent as at the end of 2022.

Improved Cook Stoves Pro­gramme saw the distribution of some 92, 552 units of Im­proved Charcoal Cook Stoves in 2022. The programme has led to efficient energy utilisa­tion and reduced dependence on wood fuels.

Downstream petroleum activities were seriously attended to by Dr. Prempeh and his team in 2022 with the minister leading the charge for Cabinet to lift the ban on the construction of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) refilling plants.

The National LPG Promo­tion Programme (NLPGPP) was properly handled leading to US$17 million in funding sup­port from the World Bank for the implementation of Phase 1 of the NLPGPP.

In addition to that initial 40,000 pieces of cook stoves and related accessories for distribution under the Nation­al LPG Promotion Programme (NLPGPP) were procured.

Stakeholder engagements with the Association of LPG Marketing Companies (LP­GMCs), Ghana Alliance for Clean Cooking (GHACCO), Min­istries of Health, Education, Transport, among others were part of the energy ministry’s preoccupation in 2022.

Dr. Prempeh focused on the NLPGPP and ensured that an Operation Manual developed for the full imple­mentation of the NLPGPP was developed as well as having the national launch of the programme.

To make the NLPGPP successful, there were re­connaissance activities in 19 Metropolitans, Municipals, and Districts (MMDAs) across Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Northern regions conducted, while 6,000 single burner LPG Cook Stoves and related ac­cessories were distributed at Obuasi, Kodie and Fomena.

LPG Behavioural Change and Public Awareness Strategy developed and Nationwide LPG Sensitisation Campaign was launched in 2022 by the energy ministry with Steer­ing Committee to provide direction and supervision for the implementation of programmes under the LPG4D instituted with Kintampo Health Research Centre as an Independent Verification Agency for the NLPGPP.

Dr. Prempeh saw the ex­clusivity agreement between Petroleum Hub Development Corporation (PHDC) and Touchstone Capital Partners (TCP)/UIC Energy Gha­na Limited (UIC) for the implementation of Phase 1 of the Petroleum Hub project facilitation in 2022 with the overall impor­tance of the hub as his interest.

There was im­proved sustain­ability of the Price Stabilisa­tion and Recov­ery Ac­count with total annual un­der-re­covery pay­ments of GHS153,753,694.94 and GHS240,655,682.57 from the Ministry of Finance for supplied RFO and premix fuel respectively, facilitated.

A subsidy capping level for Residual Fuel Oil was intro­duced and the subsidy was gradually reduced to zero while financing the automa­tion of premix fuel distribu­tion to mitigate malfeasance facilitated.

The level of subsidy on premix fuel was also capped at 50 per cent to ensure ac­cumulated under-recoveries due suppliers of products can be paid to avert the current supply disruption was also on the agenda of Dr. Prempeh in 2022.

Upstream Petroleum ac­tivities were well coordinated under the supervision of Dr. Prempeh, as Eni was granted conditional approval to joint­ly appraise the Akoma-1X and the Eban-1X discoveries in the Cape Three Points Block 4 contract area.

An additional discovery (Aprokuma-1X) has been made in the same contract area and merits appraisal and if these discoveries are proven to be commercial, the country’s re­serves will be increased lead­ing to increased oil and gas production and thus revenues.

Also, jointly appraising and eventually developing the Akoma and Eban discoveries will reduce petroleum costs as the same infrastructure will be used to produce the two discoveries.

In 2022, there was the es­tablishment of the Institution of Welding in the country to train indigenes in welding and fabrication and equip them with international certifica­tion for the global oil and gas industry.

This enhances indigenes’ chances of employment in the global oil and gas indus­try. There is no doubt that the Ministry of Energy in 2022 made giant strides under the competent leadership of Dr, Prempeh, as all sectors were fully attended to.

By Ohenenana Kwaku Djan

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