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'Dumsor', 'No Dumsor', 'What Dumsor': A quandary of the Energy Ministry

As the energy crisis looms large in the consciousness of the country stemming from unannounced power outages, evidence of yet another instance of government in disarray emerges, a ministry responsible for ensuring energy security and powering industrial production and homes has chosen to align its operations with practices seen on Madison Avenue in New York.

Lawson Edem Morttey

Simply put, the energy ministry has shifted its focus from resolving power outages to taking on a public relations role while working with electricity providers. This change contrasts with the ministry's previous criticism of power outages when they were in opposition as part of the NPP.

To jog your memory, let's go back to 2016 and recall a popular phrase like 'we have the men,' which had a classist undertone implying that those against their policy proposals were ignorant. It turns out, after all, that the NPP indeed didn’t have the men; in fact, it has become an indisputable fact that the government lacks insight into how to handle another policy failure in the energy sector, referring to the lack of competent individuals within the NPP. What a mighty, short-lived alternative reality that sieged the mindset of political talking heads then. All the conceit underpinned by a promise to revolutionize the energy sector ended up being mere hubris, if not a complete delusion, in the end. Nearly eight years have passed since 2016, and the government has not tackled the deteriorating state of the energy sector. Its ineffective approach lacks strategy, consistency in planning, and long-term vision, making it insignificant in addressing the issue. The outcome, seen through frequent blackouts in our cities, towns, and villages, is more like a small ripple than the significant transformation promised for the energy sector years ago.

Several factors contribute to this cyclical crisis. These include the periodic incrementalism of cronyism, pervasive corruption, and the blatant politicization of crucial policy decisions in the energy sector. A highly politicized energy sector makes it hard to prioritize energy efficiency as a national security concern, which is an important aspect to consider for national development. Over time, political disagreements within the sector have made it impossible for the country to create lasting policy solutions to tackle the recurring crisis.

This crisis hinders economic growth and stresses the system. It worsens the punitive effects of the current economic crisis on Ghanaians, attributed to political failures by the government. Therefore, there should be a strong motivation to assess the energy sector rigorously, free from significant political influence. One key focus should be examining the increasing population, the growing electricity demand, and how this affects the current energy generation capacity. Diversification into new forms of energy production and sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power can help mitigate the fallout from the crisis. It might be time to shift funds from exports towards enhancing and expanding the grid infrastructure. The result of such investments will likely lead to upgrading ageing power generation and transmission infrastructure.

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This recurring energy crisis threatens economic development and stability, posing risks that could disrupt the lives of many by causing economic downturns and jeopardizing our fragile democracy. Mr. Minister, it's time to confront the looming crisis in the energy sector directly instead of sidestepping it with distractions. Talking down to the public undermines your effectiveness in serving them as you should.

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