The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Ghana (ICU) has said that more 3,000 jobs would be lost by the end of 2015 due to the poor energy situation in the country. Ghana has been in energy crisis for the past two years but the current situation beginning this year is serious. Households and industries are deprived of electricity for more than 24 hours. The worsening power crisis is having a serious effect on businesses. Many of these businesses have to rely on generator to power their businesses which consequently increases operational cost, making job owners retrenching workers to avoid running at lost. Secretary General of the ICU, Solomon Kotei told reporters in a press briefing that between January and March this year, the union can report that over 500 jobs have been lost due to the deepening energy crisis.
He said the rate of redundancies in the various sectors of the economy is alarming and immediate steps must be taken to resolve the socio-economic challenges to save jobs. “If the trend is anything to go by, we are looking at about 2,000 to over 3,000 job losses within this year from our sector alone but we don’t know about others,” he said. The ICU therefore urged the Ghanaian government to reduce the cost of petroleum prices to help local businesses to get the means to buy fuel to power their generators to support their businesses. Fuel prices have not been reduced in Ghana despite the drastic fall of crude price on the world market. Political commentators have criticized the Ghanaian government for failing to reduce fuel price to help cover for the poor energy situation. The Right-Wing opposition party, the New Patriotic Party and other independent groups have held protest against the government for failing to find lasting solution to the energy crisis.
The Ghanaian government has been struggling to meet the energy needs in the country despite various interventions including importing gas from Nigeria to power its thermal plants to augment the hydro energy from the Akosombo Dam. Majority of Ghana’s energy comes from hydro. But the Akosombo hydro dam which was built by Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah in 1964 has not been managed properly by successive Ghanaian governments, culminating in the current energy crisis in the country. In January this year, the Ghanaian government reached an agreement with the United States energy giants, General Electricals worth $1 billion for the supply of energy to the country. But that agreement is not meant to solve the short term energy crisis the country is experiencing. Energy experts have criticized the government for failing to deal with the energy situation and many political commentators say the energy crisis would be a crucial determinant if Ghanaians will or not retain the government in next year’s general elections. Ghana will vote in December 2016 to choose a new executive President and parliament.