Organised Labour asks PURC to suspend tariffs

•   Mr. Kofi Asamoah —  TUC boss

• Mr. Kofi Asamoah —
TUC boss

Organised Labour has called on the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to as a matter of urgency, suspend the implemen-tation of the new tariffs for electricity and water until there is some stability in supply.

“We demand, as a matter of urgency, that PURC should reduce the tariffs further. The utility companies must be compelled by the PURC to reduce their technical and operational inefficiencies as the condition for tariff review.”

These were contained in a joint press release issued in Accra yesterday by Organised Labour.

It was signed by representatives of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Ghana Federation of Labour, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers.

The PURC on Monday, increased the electricity tariff by 59.2 per cent, while water was adjusted upward by 67.2 per cent, to take effect from Monday, December 14.

The Director of Public Relations and External Affairs of PURC, Nana Yaa Jantuah, who announced the new tariffs at a press conference in Accra, mentioned the factors that influenced the increment to include consumer and investor interest, economic development of the country, generation mix, fuel mix, availability of the service, growth in demand, power purchase cost, cedi-to-dollar exchange rate and revenue requirements.

But Organised Labour rejected that explanation.

“Our position is that PURC should have first considered the availability and reliability of power before a review of tariffs. We maintain that it is only when the people of Ghana, including workers in both formal and informal sectors of the economy, are sure of a reliable supply of power and water that they can be convinced to pay higher tariffs,” it stressed.

The release said Ghanaian consumers were already paying heavily for the depreciation of the Cedi and the high inflation, noting that, real wages had fallen drastically, especially since 2012.

“Following our consultations with the PURC, we did not expect any increase in tariffs beyond 50 per cent, as against the 129 to 400 per cent proposed by the utility companies, on condition that the power supply would have stabilised. We also expected the implementation of any new tariffs to start next year,” it added.

The said workers were worried about the ever-increasing utility tariffs which do not match the rate of increase in incomes.

“We are also concerned about the poor macro-economic performance and the technical and operational inefficiencies of the utility companies, which have contributed greatly to the frequent hikes in tariffs,” it noted.

By Joseph Edu Archison

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