Political-pressure group, the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), has urged the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to discard the proposal for tariff increase put forward by service providers warning that any "mistake of approving the proposed increases" will result in the wrath of Ghanaians being unleashed on them.
The group, in a statement issued today, pointed out that "Ghanaians deserve to know the financial basis giving rise to the said percentage proposals" and called on the entire private sector to openly voice out their abhorrence of the proposal.
"We also call on the AGI, GEA, TUC and the entire private sector to condemn this proposal.
Furthermore, they should join forces and go beyond condemnation and prepare to hit the streets or use any other means within their reach to prevent this absurd proposal from seeing the light of day. They owe their membership this much," AFAG said.
Read below the statement issued by AFAG
The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) is alarmed at the proposed increase in tariffs by the service providers.
We are appalled at the nearly 150% increase in electricity tariffs tabled before the PURC. Did the providers consider the implication of this absurd proposal on industry, SMEs and the larger economy as a whole? The utility providers should bear in mind that, Ghanaians do not have the capacity at this time to absorb the shocks of this proposed increment. Neither is the economy.
It is wicked and insensitive against the background that, Ghanaians are yet to recover from the shock of the recent petroleum and LPG price hikes.
It would be recalled that, in 2010, AFAG embarked on a demonstration in Kumasi against similar price hikes. At that, time, if our arguments cutting waste and checking corruption was heeded to, we would not be looking at the massive hikes proposed by the utility services.
As usual, they opted for the easy way of increasing prices while the entrenched and endemic waste remained.
AFAG stands by Ghanaians against this proposal.
This increment if accepted would force over three hundred (300) medium and small scale businesses to fold. Along with this would be the large number of people who would lose their jobs. Considering the large unemployment rate in the country, no institution should consider making a decision which would exacerbate this precarious situation.
Furthermore, large increases would raise the cost of doing business and would eventually, dampen investor confidence at a time, the nation is working hard to get people to invest in the economy. It is our analysis that, this proposed tariff increase would affect productivity and consequently, slow down the economy. Badly needed revenue for development would also be affected.
The utility providers have become like ‘spoilt children’ who always ask for more but consistently fails to deliver results. This is not the first time such demands are being made on consumers. In a situation where increase in tariffs does not lead to improvement in service delivery, it is difficult to justify this outrageous proposal from the utility providers.
The ECG and GRIDCO have constantly been wasting over 21% of electricity through distribution negligence and gross incompetence.
What is being done to reduce this waste? Additionally, the utility providers instead of picking the easy way of tariff increases should be effective in collecting the huge arrears owned to them by the government and the public. They should also check illegal connections and meter tempering, which we gather is being ‘supported’ by their own technicians.
1. The proposed increment is not justified under any financial model that AFAG has come across. If there is any, we challenge the utility providers to publish such a model
2. The government with no intention of increasing salary to cushion workers, it is difficult for AFAG to side with this increment.
3. From history, we reckon that, the private sector is likely to lay workers off to stay afloat. In such a situation, workers are likely to suffer. This is more precarious when the government has crippled the economy through waste and phantom expenditures.
4. Cutting waste in transmission and distribution should be the first priority of the service providers
AFAG totally rejects the leaked proposal to the PURC. We also call on the AGI, GEA, TUC and the entire private sector to condemn this proposal.
Furthermore, they should join forces and go beyond condemnation and prepare to hit the streets or use any other means within their reach to prevent this absurd proposal from seeing the light of day. They owe their membership this much.
Once again, we reiterate our opposition to the proposal and urge the PURC to ‘throw away’ the proposal and should not make a mistake of approving the proposed increases else they would meet the wrath of Ghanaians and AFAG. Ghanaians deserve to know the financial basis giving rise to the said percentage proposals.
God Bless Mother Ghana
HON. APIETU ANKRAH
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