December 30, 2015 / 2:18 PM / 4 years ago

Ghana says has fixed power deficit that caused years of blackouts

President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana’s government said on Wednesday it had fixed an electricity supply deficit that caused years of frequent blackouts that hurt businesses and angered voters ahead of an election next year.

The power cuts, known as “dumsor” in Ghana, have been a hot political topic with many residents suffering 24-hour blackouts. President John Mahama promised in February to fix them by the New Year and Power Minister Kwabena Donkor also said he would resign if the deadline was not met.

“The Ministry of Power wishes to inform the public that its Load Shedding programme in respect of electricity supply has been brought to an end,” a government statement said. Load shedding denotes planned power rationing to prevent a nationwide blackout.

The government has paid to add power generation capacity this year to overcome the problem caused by increased demand from consumers and businesses, insufficient water for hydro electric plants and inadequate supplies of gas for turbines.

The power crisis began in 2012, the year of the last election, and the main opposition New Patriotic Party says it was a sign of the government’s failure to manage the broader economy of the West African state.

For years, Ghana was one of Africa’s leading economies through its exports of gold, oil and cocoa, but growth has slowed due to lower global commodity prices. The government is also adhering to an International Monetary Fund programme meant to cut spending and raise revenue to solve a fiscal crisis.

Reporting by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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