Some staff of the Garden City Radio, a branch of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in the Ashanti Regional Capital, Kumasi, on Thursday evening allegedly attacked some staff of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), who visited the company’s premises to disconnect from the national grid over its indebtedness.
The staff, supervised by the Ashanti Regional GBC Director, deflated the tyres of the ECG vehicle that transported staff for the exercise, and blocked it from moving out of the premises.
The workers of GBC who were unhappy about the disconnection exercise angrily confronted the ECG workers over the exercise.
The confrontation, which nearly resulted in physical exchanges forced the invitation of the Asokwa District Police Command to help maintain order.
Public Relations Officer of ECG in the Ashanti Region, Erasmus Baidoo, told Citi News’ Ashanti Regional Correspondent, Hafiz Tijani, that several efforts had been made to retrieve the money amicably, but to no avail, lamenting that the amount was ballooning and that they needed to act as its been done with other power consumers.
He said the company owed ECG about GHc 1.75 million.
“We went to GBC to demand payment. This is not the first time, we’ve been there on a number of occasions and anytime we go there, we do not receive anything. We decided to take them off, in an attempt to disconnect them, the manager in charge of the area felt that he wouldn’t allow us so they deflated the tires of the vehicle that we took to the place. They also used a vehicle to block our vehicle so that we will not leave the place…. The debt is accumulating and we needed to do something about it,” he told Citi News.
The Garden City Radio is currently running on a standby power plant after the disconnection.
Meanwhile, an August 2017 letter sighted by Citi News from the Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, appealed to the Minister of Energy to hold on to the intended disconnection exercise at the facility.
A portion of the letter said, “disconnecting power to their transmitters, especially those that serve rural communities means cutting off a section of the Ghanaian population from national discourse.”
“We entreat you to use your good offices to get ECG to stop these disconnections, while we (Ministry of Energy, GBC, NMC and the Ministry of Information) meet to find a solution to GBC’s indebtedness to ECG,” the letter.
But it appears the subsequent discussions were unable to prevent Thursday’s disconnection.
There have been concerns about government’s continuous support to the state broadcaster, with critics insisting that GBC should be self-sufficient by generating its revenue to run and pay its staff without relying on government subvention.