Being a part of the communication team members of the Volta region NDC present when the Minister of Trade and Industry addressed the media, it is unfortunate that some including Ben Ephson misconstrued what Spio-Garbrah really said on the tariff increment.
It will take a very objective mindset to appreciate that the Trade Minister was not criticizing government on the tariff increase but rather trying to court sympathy for government.
When the Minister was asked by journalists as to the impact of tariff increment on businesses, Dr. SpioGarbrah sought to suggest that it could be possible some of the increment in an election year could be meant to make government and his NDC party unpopular.
In his assumption, the Trade Minister was disappointed that some agencies could wait until an election year to increase tariffs on the services they provide.
Looking at past experiences, perceptive minds will fathom that it is thinkable in the Ghanaian dispensation for politicians to infiltrate some of the utility providers in order to sabotage government.
Even with government’s efforts at increasing the megawatts of power needed to overcome the “dumsor”, Ghanaians constantly hear of blown up transformers at some of the power stations.Except, Ben Ephson will try to say that there could be no sabotage of the systems and that the transformers just naturally blow up everytime.
Taking the increase in electricity and water tariffs for instance, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) told Ghanaians on the 7th of December, 2015 that government had no hands in formulating a new water and electricity prices.
“The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) says it takes responsibility for more than 50% price hike in utility prices and that government had no hand in formulating a new water and electricity prices.Public Affairs Director of PURC Nana YaaJantuah says she is surprised that dissatisfied utility consumers are attacking government following the announcement.She maintained the PURC is an “independent” body uninfluenced by political considerations in taking its decisions.” Click this link to read more.
Down memory lane on October 16, 2015, the PURC was emphatic on Eyewitness news in stating that “it will be impossible for the President to order the Commission to increase tariffs because “PURC is an independent regulative body, it has been set up by an act of Parliament and not subject to the control or directive of any organization” Click this link.
It is therefore unfortunate that with these facts available to even the ordinary citizen, a senior journalist such as Ben Ephson could consider that the President and his cabinet could be responsible for tariff increases when these agencies themselves have confirmed they are independent of government’s interference.
So how could one fault Dr. Spio Garbrah in expressing the views of the silent majority that he smells a conspiracy to make the President unpopular with the hike in tariffs particularly in an election year? To call the Trade and Industry Minister to resign for empathizing with his own government marks of hypocrisy that Mr. Ephson should apologize to the experienced Minister. What Mr. Ephson may fail to note is that apart from President Mahama, Dr. Spio-Garbrah is the only cabinet Minister in the present government with the privilege to have served in the Rawlings cabinet which lost the 2000 elections therefore is experienced enough to know the effect of such tariff increases in an election year for his NDC party.
Being a journalist of long standing, Mr. Ben Ephson could befamiliar with the serial killing of women leading to the 2000 elections. One could recall the Kuffor-led NPP campaigned vigorously on that with J. H Mensah declaring an end to the serial killings of women when voted into power.
When the killing stopped immediately after J. A.Kuffour was elected, it rather dawn on former President Rawlings that the killing of 34 women was a political killings to cause panic and insecurity leading to disaffection for the NDC government.
Rawlings therefore called for the famous “Chemical Interrogation” of senior NPP leaders.If one could murder 34 women for power, set power stations in flame, burn market places in the desperation for power, how impossible is it for Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah to fear there could be a conspiracy or sabotage in an election year against his government and party?
The best Ben Ephson can do for some of us who still hold him highly is to render an open apology to Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah for his hasty comments on him. It will serve a great purpose because in his haste he did not digest carefully the angle Dr. Spio-Garbrah was coming from.