The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba has launched the Social and Gender Integration Plan (SGIP) document of the Ghana Power Compact Programme (GPCP).
The GPCP is aimed at reducing poverty through economic growth with the ministry signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MiDA for a collaboration.
She said the ministry existed to work towards an integrated society that offers equal opportunities for both men and women and safeguards the rights of children.
“We also seek to empower the vulnerable, especially the girl-child and women; the excluded, the aged and persons with disabilities. We are therefore very much interested in projects and activities that support the Ministry’s efforts at achieving its goal”, she added.
According to the Minister, the ministry would collaborate and fully support the implementation of gender and social inclusion activities set forth in the SGIP saying the ministry was committed to making available its technical expertise on gender and social inclusion issues to drive the implementation of the SGIP.
“There has been a lot of the public conversations about the Ghana Power Compact. It appears that in all the discussions we have lost sight of the overall goal of the Compact, which is working to reduce poverty in Ghana” adding that “we are all aware of the hardships owners of businesses faced, especially those in the informal sector, during the long periods of the energy crises”.
She said “stories of hairdressers, dressmakers, barbers, bar and store operators, pure water sellers, working and market women losing income because of the lack of power to run their businesses abound. As domestic consumers, power fluctuations affect us in several ways, for instance when our food goes bad in the fridge, women are the worst affected because our “chop money” becomes insufficient, fluctuations also spoil our fridges and freezers which put a strain on our budgets and there is no way of compensating the household consumer”.
She added that household consumers were badly affected because they were cut off as soon as their prepaid runs out or when their relatively low bills are unpaid, meanwhile the big corporate organisations and ministries will be owing the Electricity Company and still be enjoying power supply.
Therefore, she said the inclusion of these business groups and providing for them in the Compact design was commendable.
Currently there existed a number of national policies that seem to address the issue of gender and social protection as it related to development and energy in particular and made specific mention of the Ghana Gender Policy, Ghana Energy Sector Strategy & Development Plan, the Ghana Sustainable Energy for All Action Plan and the National Social Protection Policy.
She added that the Compact Projects would support the government’s efforts at achieving its commitment towards the Sustainable Energy For All Agenda (SE4ALL) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set out by the UN.