Management of the Volta River Authority (VRA) has announced plans to privatize the subsidiary companies of the authority.
The authority, as a move to provide facilities and assistance for the socio-economic development of the Volta Basin, operates three subsidiary companies, namely the Akosombo Hotel Limited, Volta Lake Transport Company Limited and Kpong Farms Limited.
The Akosombo Hotel Limited runs a three-star hotel, a restaurant, modern conference facilities, pleasure activities and promotes tourism, while the Volta Lake Transport Company incorporated in 1970, operates river transportation for passengers, bulk haulage of petroleum products on the Volta Lake, and cross-lake ferry services along the lake.
The Kpong Farms Limited on the other hand was established in 1982 to undertake viable agricultural venture in irrigation and merchandised farming, animal husbandry and meat processing among others.
VRA says it is seeking joint venture participation to commercialize the meat processing, rice cultivation and animal husbandry operations of the Kpong Farms Limited.
Apart from the afore-mentioned subsidiaries, the management of the authority has also planned to privatize the non-power activities of the utility company which include VRA Hospitals at Akosombo, Aboadze and Accra, and its schools at Akuse, Akosombo and Aboadze.
The Chief Executive of VRA, Kweku Andoh Awotwi told the press during a tour to Kpong Hydro Power Generating Station at Akuse in the Eastern Region that “with emerging technology and stiff competition offered by the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), there is the need for VRA to divest itself from the non-core functions such as the management of hotels, schools, real estate, health facilities and farms and concentrate on their core mandate of producing power for Ghana and the West African Sub-region.”
VRA intends to find partners who will manage these assets for profitability, reduce cost and improve on their efficiency, he added.
“VRA is re-positioning and bracing itself for a competition which will arise in the next few years when Independent Power Producers (IPPs) begin their formal operations.
In this respect, the VRA will be undertaking a series of activities that will make the authority function effectively and efficiently in their bid to remain the leader of power supply in the sub-region,” Mr Awotwi stated.
A senior engineer of the VRA, Kwaku Wiafe, said with actions such as refurbishing its equipment and shedding off some of its non-core functions, they will be ready for competition.
Most of the workers told this paper that they have backed the privatisation programme provided there would be no lay-off. Mr Awotwi assured them that management has no intention to reduce the staff strength but rather increase it when the privatization becomes operational.
“We welcome strategic investors and partners to invest their capital, expertise and technology to expand our energy infrastructure as well as commercialization of its subsidiary ventures,” they stated.
Information reaching this paper indicates that the uninionised workers of the company are planning to embark on a tour to all VRA facilities across the country to educate others about the impending privatisation exercise.
The time for the privatization exercise was however not disclosed.
By Felix Dela Klutse