The members of sachet and packaged water producers, yesterday took on the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC), and the Ghana Water Company, for imposing new tariff increases on their members which they described as excessive and discriminatory.
At a news conference in Accra yesterday, the producers also slammed the PURC, for deceiving the public on the exact percentage increase which is remarkably different from the 67% that was announced by the PURC.
According to them, by their calculation they are expected to pay an increase of 195% for sachet and 400% for bottled water.
To them, the new water tariff increases have been done to an intolerable limit that would see their production costs go up to unimaginable limits. As a consequence, they have decided to increase prices of their products beginning February I, 2016.
In simple terms, the water producers have decided to increase the prices of their products because they have been slapped with tariffs that are strangling their businesses.
In essence, what they have done is also in response to the market and to ensure that they continue to stay in business.
The Times is concerned about the developments in the water sector, which has forced the producers to pass on the huge tariff increases to consumers.
We are further perplexed about the revelations by the water producers that the tariff increases announced by the PURC, was much higher than what was announced in the gazette.
Perhaps, more disturbing is the fact that the producers alleged they have been discriminated against in favour of other commercial users of water who are paying fewer tariffs than the water producers.
If these assertions were to be believed, then it is critical that the PURC sit and dialogue with the water producers to iron their differences with the view to take a second look at the increases.
Already, consumers are reeling under new taxes imposed at the beginning of the year, and its accompanying confusion in price adjustments.
The price increases on sachet and bottled water at this time is only going to compound the problems of the ordinary man in the street and add to the confusion.
We urge the government to step in to discuss the issues raised with the water producers to avert price increases that would only go to add up to the hardship that the ordinary consumers in the street are facing.
Water is life and, we must resist its unbridled commercialisation.