The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s Garden City Radio in the Ashanti Region, has been taken off air after the Electricity Company of Ghana disconnected the facility from the national grid, leaving management with no option than run on a standby plant.
The GBC is said to owe the power company about GHc 1.75 million.
A letter sighted in August 2017, indicates that the Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, had written to the Minister of Energy to hold on with 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.
The Ashanti Regional Director of the GBC, Sam Kwatia, is now threatening a legal action against three workers of the ECG over what he called unlawful entry to the premises which enabled them to disconnect the power.
An altercation ensued between the ECG workers and staff GBC, after they disconnected power to the facility.
The GBC workers had blocked a pick-up vehicle the ECG workers brought in to carry out the disconnection exercise.
Workers of GBC who were unhappy with the disconnection exercise angrily confronted the ECG workers.
Police from the Asokwa District Command were later called in to maintain order.
Public Relations Officer of ECG in the Ashanti Region, Erasmus Baidoo, said 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 expressed disappointment in the Regional GBC Director who supervised the deflation of the tyres of ECG’s car which entered the premises to cause the 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.