Increase utilities and see what will happen – govt warned

Government has been warned to stay any plans to increase utilities in the country, irrespective of the percentage.

General Secretary of the Progressive Peoples’ Party (PPP) Kofi Asamoah Siaw told Joy News the atmosphere in the country does not support plans by the utility providers – Ghana Electricity Company, Ghana Grid Company, Volta River Authority, and Ghana Water Company Limited – to increase prices for their services.

The service providers are proposing to consumers to pay over 100 percent tariff increment. They have been embarking on a nationwide consultation forum to convince Ghanaians to buy into their proposal.

But the PPP has rebuffed the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission for what it describes as the open show of support for the utility companies at the detriment of consumers whose interest it must protect.

The party joins the CPP and the NPP who have also rejected the proposed 100 percent tariff increase. On the contrary, President Mahama has appealed to Ghanaians to agree to pay realistic prices for the utilities.

The PURC is hoping the public will accept to pay more for the services.

Kofi Asamoah Siaw said they will resist any attempt to increase the tarriffs.

“The people who make time to go to the conferences, the public gathering, are not the people who will go on the streets when they increase it.

“So if they will not listen and they want to go ahead and do that, let them increase it and we will see what will happen…the mood of the country is that of anger and rejection, so why do you still want to ignore that,” he cautioned.

Kofi Asamoah Siaw was emphatic that Ghanaians can never accept such an increase when the problem at hand is not the doing of consumers.

He further stated that the current minimum wage of 7 cedis certainly cannot support an increment of 100 percent.

He accused the government of not paying its debts to the utility providers, and rather decided to “choose the easy path” servicing its debts by passing them on to consumers.

The need to provide consumers constant and efficient supply has been the underlining reason for previous increments. But consumers do not enjoy that efficient service as promised; based on this that the PPP General Secretary said Ghanaians cannot continue to pay more for utilities.

“This is not the time for the citizens to intervene. We have intervened many, many times; this time around, it is government’s call to step onto the plate and do what governments do,” he insisted.

The ECG, GRIDCo, VRA and GWCL, say it has become necessary to increase tariffs because the cost of production has gone up. kofi Asamoah Siaw admitted that most of the materials used in production are imported, which the performance of the cedi against the dollar plays a major role.

But having “mismanaged” the cedi and caused it to depreciate, “it is not fair” and “not justifiable”, for government to ask Ghanaians to pay more for its inefficiency, he said.

With the president adding his voice to the need for people to pay a little more for power especially, Kofi Asamoah Siaw believed it was a waste of time for the utility providers to do the national consultation, when they have already made up their mind to increase tariffs.

He also advised the service providers to divert their attention at those who do illegal connections in order to rake in some revenue to improve production.

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