The recent impasse between some major wood processing companies particularly in Kumasi, Ashanti Region and other processing centres of timber across the country and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), over the huge electricity tariff they owed and which led to the disconnection of supply to these firms, has been resolved leading to the resumption of operations.
The amicable solution of the problem was facilitated by the executive of the Timber and Wood Workers Union of TUC and the managing director of ECG, who ordered that the previous payment terms agreed on between the firms and the ECG should be maintained.
Mr. Joshua Ansah, General Secretary of the union, disclosed this to journalists in Accra. Explaining the circumstances that led to the disconnection of supply to the wood processing firms which produce plywood and assorted value-added wood products for the domestic market and export, Mr. Ansah said a couple of years ago ECG hiked its power tariff and some of the firms which consume high power became heavily indebted to it amidst volatile production trends -- notably in procurement of raw materials from the Forestry Commission.
According to him, some of these firms pay as much a GH˘130,000 to GH˘190,000 a month for power alone. Unable to settle the entire bill outright, the various firms entered into an agreement with ECG for payment to be effected by instalment.
Then in a recent media report it came to light that consumers owe ECG huge sums of money which it has failed to retrieve. As a result ECG then embarked on a mass disconnection exercise of these consumers, irrespective of those who had a standing agreement with it -- hence their disconnection.
He said the wood processing firms are encountering multiple challenges and most of them are in salary arrears between 6 to 7 months, and therefore called on government to look at the plight of these firms which employ thousands of workers.
The General Secretary said his union’s contribution to the national afforestation programme has been very successful with the cultivation of a 640-acre teak plantation in the Brong Ahafo Region which is now matured.
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