The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, ISSER, University of Ghana has launched the findings of a study that examined the effects of 2012 -2015 power crisis, (‘Dumsor’ in local parlance) on small and medium manufacturing firms in the country.
This was at a workshop held at ISSER Conference Hall last Tuesday, 22nd August, 2017 and attended by some industry players, academia and students. The event was chaired by Dr. A.K. Ofosu Ahenkorah, Executive Secretary of Energy Commission who represented Dr. Boakye Agyarko, Minister of Energy.
The theme for the workshop was “Counting the Cost: the Impact of Power Crisis on Manufacturing Sector Productivity”.
The team of Researchers who undertook the study is Dr. Patrick Asuming, Lecturer Department of Finance, University of Ghana Business School, (Lead Investigator), Dr. Charles Ackah, Senior Research Fellow at ISSER, University of Ghana and Ms. Ama Baafra Abeberese, Lecturer, Department of Economics Wellesley College, Boston United States. It was commissioned by International Growth Centre (IGC).
In his opening remarks to welcome participants on behalf of Prof Felix Ankomah Asante, Director of ISSER, Prof Robert Darko Osei, Vice Dean at the Graduate School, University of Ghana and a Fellow at ISSER, noted the workshop has been timely as energy is a topical issue particularly if one thinks about it against government’s policy of one district one factory.
His counsel to policy makers is: “To grow the economy look at power in terms of pricing”.
Opening the discussion, Dr. Ackah stated that reliable power supply is a major issue in the country. He traced power crisis in Ghana and averred the severest and prolonged one was from 2012 – 2015 yet no scientific study was conducted immediately to know the impact on the economy.
Dr. Ackah noted the energy crisis had significant negative effects on labour and productivity in the manufacturing sector.
He disclosed that 885 SMEs lost GH250m while 55 folded up with its attendant job losses.
The Senior Research Fellow said research found out firms’ coping strategies – such as using generators – were ineffective in reducing the negative impact of outages on productivity.
Again the findings showed firms were willing to pay more to avoid power outages, which suggest the key national investments in electricity generation, production and distribution infrastructure will be worthwhile even if it means rise in tariffs.
In his contribution, Dr. Asuming observed that firms appeared to cope with electricity outages by producing their own electricity through generators, reducing the amount of time they operated and changing their production processes and dropping products.
The research team recommended additional investment be made in generation, production and distribution infrastructure to improve reliability of power supply through the national grid.
In his closing remarks the chairman of the occasion, thanked participants for their contributions and assured all that the minister will be briefed in view of the importance of the subject matter and the in-depth contributions made.