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Akufo-Addo: Reduce utility tariffs now

Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called for the immediate reduction in utility tariffs.

According to Nana Addo, the directive by the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) to the ECG to suspend its new billing system would not solve the pricing problem in Ghana.

PURC on Tuesday ordered the Electricity Company of Ghana to “suspend the implementation of their new billing software until further notice.”

According to a statement from the PURC, the directive has been “necessitated by Complaints which it has been received from consumers of Electricity regarding issues of overbilling.”

Nana Addo in a statement said: “I have taken notice of today’s statement made by the PURC that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) should suspend its billing system. I think the matter is more fundamental and should go further than that.

“If you look at the rates we are charging, industry, as well as domestic users, for electricity in Ghana, compared, for instance, to Cote d’Ivoire, already, it puts our enterprises in a very uncompetitive comparison.

“In Ghana, my understanding is that the tariff for commercial users is 32 US cents/kilowatt hour. The Ivorian equivalent is 13 US cents/kilowatt hour. Again, for domestic users, we are talking about 19.28 US cents/kilowatt hour, when Cote d’Ivoire equivalent is a tariff of 9 US cents/kilowatt hour.

The former Foreign Affairs Minister added that “a large part of it is due to the taxes, the insatiable appetite of the Mahama government for taxes – 10% energy levy which is charged for both domestic and commercial uses; a service charge of GH¢7 flat rate for every consumer and a VAT of 17½% for commercial users.

“I believe all of these figures can be significantly reduced to be able to bring the electricity tariff system in our country to a much more competitive relationship with that of our neighbours and what is going on in the region. It is important for us to recognize in Ghana that, whatever we are doing, we are doing so in a globally competitive context, and if we don’t recognize that, many of the decisions we make about the management of our economy are going to put us at a disadvantage from the get go.

“I am saying it is absolutely imperative and urgent that the public authorities find a way to reduce electricity tariffs in our country immediately and do so now.”

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