Utility tariff hikes: Gov’t must intervene to cushion Ghanaians – Minority

The Minority in Parliament has predicted tough economic times for Ghanaians following the hike in utility tariffs by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC).

In a statement issued in Accra yesterday, the Minority said in the face of a free-falling Ghana cedi and the galloping inflation, government should have intervened to cushion the citizenry who were already reeling under the economic crunch.

“We are of the strongest conviction that Government can and must do something to cushion Ghanaians who are going through unimaginable hardships with ever-worsening poverty levels.

“The country is already reeling under galloping inflation estimated at about 32 per cent, thus this utility tariff increment will only exacerbate the current high cost of living and will thus worsen the plight of the already impoverished Ghanaians,” the statement signed by the Ranking Member on the Energy Committee, John Abdulai Jinapor, posited.

The Commission, at the behest of the Electricity Company of Ghana and the Ghana Water Company Limited, on Monday increased utility prices by 27.15 per cent and 21.55 per cent for electricity and water respectively to take effect from September 1, 2022.

Before the announcement of the increase in the utility tariffs, John Jinapor, who is also the MP for Yapei/Kusawgu, said the citizenry had suffered enough of the hardship.

“Prior to these electricity tariff increments, petroleum products at the pumps have witnessed a colossal increment of about 100 per cent. So far, the Energy Debt Recovery Levy has seen an increase of 20 per cent; the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy was up by 40 per cent.

“The Unified Petroleum Pricing Formula has been increased by 164 per cent, whilst the BOST margin has been increased from 3 Pesewas to 9 Pesewas, representing a 200 per cent increase. As if this is not enough, the fuel marking margin levy has also been increased by another 233 per cent.

“This is against the background that the volume of petroleum products consumed has increased by 35 per cent from 4 billion litres to 5.5 billion litres,” he stated.

Coupled with increment on the global market in petroleum products, Mr Jinapor said government had benefitted in excess of US$500 million in windfall to cushion the citizenry.

According to the statement, when the erstwhile John Mahama-led administration found itself in a similar economic situation in 2016, the government stepped in to give Ghanaians some relief.

“It will be recalled that following the major tariff review in 2016, the NDC Government intervened, resulting in a reduction of the rate of increment by close to 50 per cent,” Mr Jinapor who was then a Deputy Minister of Power recalled.

The second term lawmaker debunked what he said was” the misleading” conclusion that the PURC had increased electricity tariff by 27 per cent for all consumers.

“A critical look at the tariff structure as announced reveals that all residential consumers who fall between 0-300 kWh bracket have witnessed a price increase from GHp/kWh 65.4161 to GHp/kWh89.0422, representing an increment of almost 34 per cent.

“It should be noted that the bulk of residential consumers fall within the 0-300 kWh bracket and will therefore be adversely affected by the 34 per cent adjustment,” he argued.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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