Trade and Industry Minister Ekow Spio Garbrah has said the recent tariff hikes in utilities are “outrageous.”
“It is curious that many of these charges are coming in the first month of an election year… why have some of these institutions waited for an election year and all of a sudden we hear incredibly outrageous rates…” he told Joy FM in the Volta Region during a working tour.
According to him, the hikes risk stifling Industry. “There is no point in killing the goose that is laying the golden egg. You might think you are doing a good job by just raising revenue but you are killing the whole economy,” the former presidential aspirant said.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), late last year, increased electricity and water tariffs by 59.2% and 67.2%, respectively. Organised Labour on Wednesday reached an agreement with the government to reduce the rates.
After negotiations, the government agreed to reduce the tariff for electricity from 59.2% to 45% and 50%, respectively for two specific categories of consumers.
Consumers, who fall within the 0 – 50 units band (lifeline), will enjoy the greater relief.
They will only now suffer a 45% increase instead of the 59.2%, while those, who fall within the 51 – 300 units band will suffer a 50% hike instead of the 59.2%.
Apart from the two categories, all other consumers will suffer the 59.2% hike. The deal was announced in a memorandum of understanding signed between government and Organised Labour on Wednesday January 27.
Organised Labour had demanded – in a demonstration – that the tariffs be reduced to 50% across the board.
They suspended a two-day nationwide strike to re-engage government over their demands, which on Wednesday culminated in an agreement which leaders of Organised Labour have said, is satisfactory enough.
Apart from slashing the power tariff hike, the Government has also agreed to “cushion” Industry.
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is to write to the Presidency identifying two prioritised areas for which industries will need cushioning.
Additionally, the government has ordered the Electricity Company of Ghana to sort out the over-billing mishap that happened after the tariff hikes.