Press Release Volta River Authority
Accra, 11 July 2016
The Government of Ghana, acting through its Ministry of Finance ("MOF") and Ministry of Power is pleased to announce that it is progressing towards a successful conclusion in the restructuring of a substantial portion of the debts owed by the Volta River Authority ("VRA").
The agreement when concluded, should lead to a comprehensive restructuring of VRA's balance sheet, based on concessions amounting to approximately GHS300 million granted by a number of domestic banks ("Lenders") with past due facilities with VRA. The Lenders have been led by representatives of the Ghana Association of Bankers ("GAB") and the Chief Executives of the Lending Banks in the negotiations with the MOF.
The final restructuring package includes the following:
Pursuant to the debt restructuring, Cedi and US Dollar denominated loan facilities totalling GHS 2.2 billion, ("VRA Legacy Debts") will be repaid from a special account opened to receive the proceeds accruing under the Power Generation & Infrastructure Support sub-account, under the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA, 2015) and apply an estimated 50% of the proceeds to retire the VRA Legacy Debts.
Government will apply the other 50% of proceeds under ESLA plus the current enhanced “business-as-usual” receivables of VRA all of which is to be escrowed into a centrally-managed account to be used to service trade and other creditors of the power sector.
Commenting on the nature and terms of the restructuring package, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mr. Seth Terkper, who also has additional oversight responsibility for the Ministry of Power, stated: "It is important first of all, to note that the Energy Sector levies are being applied as purposed and approved by the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.
This approach ensures that there is absolutely no impact on the country's debt stock or further burden on tax payers. By this arrangement the Government is taking on its responsibility to support the power sector agencies including VRA, to fully repay all legacy debts owed to the domestic lending banks and trade suppliers.
The immediate impact of this arrangement is to strengthen the balance sheet of VRA and enhance its ability to arrange more structured trade lines to support its day-to-day operations under a well-managed escrowed receivables structure, which will avoid build-up of further unsustainable debt.
The Government of Ghana expects lending banks to adopt the VRA debt restructuring arrangement which is also intended to relieve and improve the quality of their lending assets and the credit standing of the energy sector State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), demonstrating government’s commitment at all times to honour its statutory obligations.
VRA is the 100% state-owned power generation utility. The Authority operates a total installed electricity generation capacity of 2,434 MW from thermal and hydroelectric sources.
VRA's debt burden has increased over the past several years, due to a combination of operational and financial difficulties. The Government in its quest to ensure fiscal sustainability and to reduce the extent to which it is required to grant financial support to state-owned entities has embarked on an exercise to strengthen their balance sheets. The agreement reached with the Lenders therefore represents a significant milestone in this endeavour.
With a stronger financial profile, greater fiscal discipline, and continuous operational improvements, VRA will be adequately positioned to fulfil its mandate to the people of the Republic of Ghana.
For more information please refer to VRA's website: www.vra.com