On Saturday, I was interviewed in Ghanaian weekly The Mirror about the ECG scandal revealed and discussed earlier on the blog here.
This is what I said:
“People I talked to yesterday had very similar feelings to my own. We felt disappointed and angry. A state company is supposed to look after the interests of the state, and a state is its citizens. Rather, Anas report revealed, ECG is giving favors to corporations and making it difficult for individuals to even obtain a meter to get on the grid. A new friend even said, knowing it had gone this far, he felt he is losing hope and becoming cynical.
It seems ECG forgot their role of distributing electricity to individuals and companies and collecting money for it. On JoyFM the ECG spokesperson Dr Smart-Yeboah said the role of the company was to help keep companies in business – I disagree with that.
The management of ECG and its board should accept responsibility. The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) have been quiet on these issues. Ultimately, in my understanding, the Ministry of Energy is in charge of electricity in Ghana.
I think, except for the changes that ECG will do internally, we all have to help in the solutions. At Ashesi University College we have a course in business ethics that we call Giving Voice to Values. We assume we all have values, we can differentiate right from wrong – the difficulty is to voice those values.
Sometimes just asking a question is a start. Director of Public Affairs at ECG said on JoyFM “I have heard a lot of complaints, ‘they are asking money’, but nobody will tell you who.” Here we the public have to step up. Next time someone asks for bribe, can we ask for their full name? To talk to their manager? Can we call a journalist and ask them to look into the practice? Companies can help us by having hotline numbers and people on the other side of the line who are trained to take such complaints. Name tags for all employees would also be helpful.
I am not the right person to say what ECG should do now. However, this is a very serious blow to the credibility of the company and hence Ghanaians are expecting change.”