Ghana settled half its debt to energy producers who’d threatened to turn the lights off in the West African economy over their inability to cover operational costs.
Ghana paid $750 million in tranches over the last three months, Elikplim Apetorgbor, who heads a chamber that brings together companies responsible for close to half of the country’s peak energy demand, said by phone Wednesday.
“We continue to explore all avenues to ensure that we get to zero” debt, a government spokesperson said in an emailed response to questions after confirming the payment.
The move shows Ghana is seeking to re-prioritize the settlement of ballooning energy debt after focusing on its response to the coronavirus pandemic. The state reacted to the health crisis with more than 3 billion cedis ($519 million) that included providing free electricity and water to citizens, tax waivers and credit to small businesses.
Read more: Ghana’s Power Abundance Becomes Burden as Energy Debts Mount
No new debt has been accrued this year as the government has been paying weekly invoices for power, said Apetorgbor of the Chamber of Independent Power Producers, Distributors and Bulk Consumers.