There is no gainsaying that electric power is a crucial component of any development strategy, for electricity is the energy needed to drive the wheels of industry, boost productivity and increase income. However, it is obvious that Ghana and other African countries have not realized the full benefits of producing, distributing and consuming electricity. This development calls for new approaches to power management. As part of its 50th anniversary, Ghana's state-owned power producer, Volta River Authority (VRA), is organizing an inter-schools debate competition for high students to brainstorm over the topic: "should the financing of power utilities be a social or commercial venture?"
Strong arguments can be made for both sides of this interesting topic. Financing electricity as a social venture will increase its accessibility and affordability; this means that poor folks in rural areas will stand the opportunity to enjoy the many blessings that electric energy has to offer. On the other hand, running power utilities as a commercial venture will enable government to raise enough money to address our many pressing development needs. This debate promises to be a thriller!
Competing in the finals, to be held on 20th April at Achimota School, are five of Ghana's finest schools namely Presbyterian Boys Secondary School-Legon (PRESEC), OLA Girls Senior High School, Labone Senior High School, Keta Senior High Technical School (Ketasco) and Mfantsipim School. These schools were selected from a pool of 10 after a grueling first round of debates held live on Accra's Joy 99.7 FM.
Members of the audience and the general public are invited to vote for their favourite schools via the short code 1446. For example to vote for my school, Ketasco, to win simply text "VRA Ketasco" to 1446 on any network. The programme will start at 10:00 am sharp at the Achimota assembly hall. Be there or tune into Joy Fm to follow events. What are your thoughts on this debate?