Group To Labour: Offer Solutions, Not Threats

A group calling itself GhanaAlive has called on Organised Labour to help Government solve the energy and economy challenges rather than threaten strikes over tariff hikes.

Organised Labour has threatened an industrial action in the event of an unsuccessful meeting with Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, Tuesday, January 12, 2016.

The workers union has asked government to cap increases in petroleum prices and utility tariffs at 50%. Government, in December last year, announced 59.2% and 67.2% hikes for electricity and water, respectively, with petroleum prices shooting up by 27%, thanks to the passing of an Energy Sector Levy by parliament.

GhanaAlive, in a statement said state power producer, VRA, is indebted to the tune of $1.4billion. “The VRA’s debt has come about because of successive governments’ constant intervention (obvious political expediency) to not allow the nation’s power producer to sell generated power to even meet its cost of production.”

According to GhanaAlive, commendation, rather than condemnation, must be extended to the government, which has, “in the face of an impending election and regardless of the associated risk,… resolved to, among other things, have the status quo changed by letting the power producer, VRA, have a new lease of life just as the banks owed and the entire wellbeing of the country’s economy.”

Read full statement below:

GhanaAlive, a pro-democracy and development focused group finds it quite disappointing the position taken and the ultimatum given by Organized Labour against Governments introduction of innovative and development oriented measures in meeting the energy and road related needs of the people. Particularly here, having to timely take steps to save a very critical energy sector player, the Volta River Authority (VRA) from a crippling debt and imminent collapse.

The VRA, GhanaAlive has gathered is indebted to the tune of $1.4billion most of which are to banks which themselves are very much now exposed, threatening their operation and survival and with consequential effect on the larger economy. The VRA’s debt has come about because of successive Governments’ constant intervention (obvious political expediency) to not allow the nation’s power producer to sell generated power to even meet its cost of production.

The VRA per available information has been selling generated power at Ten cent/kwh ($0.10/kwh) LESS its production cost. That among other factors leave the VRA to RECOVER just about only fifty percent (50%) of its cost of production. By that, one is tempted to ask which business oriented entity does that and survives?

The outright rejection of the measures by Organized Labour and an order for withdrawal of same with an ultimatum is not development inclined, knowing quite well a chunk of the $1.4billion debt was what almost all Ghanaians including members of Organized Labour have for many years been enjoying as subsidies from succesive Ģovernments which are still unpaid and that for instance leaving VRA in such a dire state and badly requiring a resuscitation.

As stakeholders who equally care about the wellbeing of the country, would not be out of place having Organized Labour at these crucial times joining forces with Government, proffering some workable alternatives to the crippling challenges that Government is confronting. Unless Organized Labour is very satisfied with the dire situation of VRA as well as other energy sector challenges including roads for which the levies have been introduced.

In the estimation of the group, commendation must rather be extended to the current Government for in the face of an impending election and regardless of the associated risk, has resolved to among other things have the status quo changed by letting the power producer, VRA have a new lease of life just as the banks owed and the entire wellbeing of the country’s economy.

A Government such as the one led by President John Mahama which is not hypocritical about the situations but is bold, identifying measures to overcome same; means well for the country and needs the support of everybody in that direction.

God bless our homeland Ghana

And make our nation great and strong

GhanaAlive

Bismark Aborbi-Ayitey

Signed

Mawuli Kpodo

Signed

Justice Yeboah

Signed

Koku Mawuli Nanegbe

Signed


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