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Gov’t must pay ECG, others before new tariffs can be accepted – CPP

The Convention People’s Party (CPP) has called on government to pay debts owed the Electricity Company of Ghana.

The party said it is only when government fulfils its financial obligations to ECG and other utility service providers that the recent tariff increases will accepted.

These were contained in a press released signed by the CPP’s Director of Communications, Nii Armah Akomfrah.

Utility companies are currently engaging the public as part of processes to justify the request for tariff increases.

But CPP believe government cannot owe huge sum to the service providers and burden ordinary, struggling citizens.

Read the full press release below:

PAY ECG DEBT – CPP URGES GOVERNMENT

The CPP has called on the government to pay the debts she owes to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and other utility companies. In a statement to the media issued in Accra , the Party said that the only condition for a public acceptance of the proposed 100 % increase in electricity tariff is the payment of debts owed to the ECG by the government. The government, the Party said has set a bad example and until it corrects this lapse in the conduct of public affairs, loses any moral right to call on citizens to pay a 100% increase in tariffs. The alternative according to the Party is for citizens to follow the example of government and refuse payment of the increments until the government sets a worthy example in the performance of her financial obligations to public institutions.

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According to the CPP, the divestiture of sovereign Ghanaian assets such as the ECG to a foreign company will not be necessary or required when the government pays its debts to them. The Party therefore called for an abrogation of concessions of ECG and other utilities’ assets to foreign companies, because the earnings of the foreign companies on these assets deprives the nation of development funds, especially when the concessions include the repatriation of profit. 

The CPP called on the government to take notice and adopt the requisite policy measures against the further impoverishment of Africans through the grabbing of productive assets in African countries

The party reminded the government that freedom from colonial rule should mean the national ownership of our productive assets

The CPP’s statement is in direct response to an article in the Daily Graphic of Tuesday 1st September 2015, reported that three utility companies have put forward proposals for over 100% increment in their charges. http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/48671-3-utility-companies-propose-100-tariffs-for-2015.html

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The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) seeks to increase its charge from 16 pesewas to 35 pesewas per unit; Volta River Authority, from 15 pesewas to 30 pesewas per unit and Ghana Water Company Limited seeks to raise its charge from 1.70 to 4 cedis per cubic metre. A fourth utility company, GRIDCo also wants to change its tariff from 4 pesewas to 5 pesewas.

VRA claims it needs to charge that much due to the rising costs of imported fuel.  ECG based the need for an increment on foreign exchange costs. GWCL and GRIDCo claim inadequate operating funds for continuous provision of their services.

All this after a unilateral increase in prices on 1st July 2015, and in a state of economic austerity.  The CPP points out that the reasons proffered by the utility companies should be laid at the door of the ruling NDC who have failed woefully to serve the interests of Ghanaians, and only do the bidding of their IMF handlers. Furthermore, according to the Party, these tariff hikes are never matched by an increase in the efficient delivery of these utility services

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Another key problem the CPP highlighted is the deliberate balkanisation of our utility companies, leading to unnecessary duplication, waste and buck passing.  This Kafkaesque farce is led by and presided over by yet another government agency, the PURC. The latter in its ‘supervisory role’ undertakes the following processes to ‘ensure transparency and fairness’:

  • Pre-filing
  • Preliminary Review
  • Public hearings
  • Stakeholder consultations
  • Gazetting and publication

Where and when, in all this musical chairs, is the interest of the hard pressed Ghanaian citizen upheld?

 

Nii Armah Akomfrah                 

CPP Director of Communication

www.conventionpeoplesparty.org