Energy Expert, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby has described as “sad”, government’s decision to cut utility tariffs by about 25 per cent.
He said the action was an unnecessary inteference with the work of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), the constitutionally mandated body to set utility prices in consultation with the relevant stakeholders..
“This is a sad day for Ghana”, Dr. Wereko-Brobby, who is also the Chief Policy Analyst at the Ghana Institute for Public Policy Options (GIPPO), said on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Monday.
The decision of government to bow to the pressure of organised labour which threatened a nation-wide demonstration if nothing was done about the tariffs, Tarzan argued, “undermines the independence of the PURC. You cannot start talking about automatic adjustment and people taking steps to interfere in the original jurisdiction of the PURC.”
The former Chief Executive of the Volta River Authority, the national power generator, said Ghanaians paid far less for water and electricity compared “to what we pay for mobile phone calls.”
Government on Sunday announced it had slashed the 79 per cent increase in electricity tariffs announced by the PURC in September by 25 percent.
It said the measure was to minimise the impact of the new utility tariffs on consumers. This means consumers will now pay 59.18 percent and not the 78.9 per cent originally announced by the PURC.
Government also asked the regulator to start with the implementation of the Automatic Tariff Adjustment Formula (ATAF) from January, 2014. By this formula, utility tariffs will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.
Dr. Wereko-Brobby said if at all government wanted to intervene in the pricing of the utilities, the subsidy should have gone to the manufacturing sector to generate growth and expand the economy.
Also speaking on the Super Morning Show, Dr. Tony Aidoo, the Head of Policy Monitoring and Evaluation at the Presidency, commended government for the intervention.
He said it was necessary that all citizens benefited from the subsidy irrespective of their social and economic status.
“I believe that it is the business of government to make sure that there is redistribution of opportunities for the purpose of closing the inequality gap,” he explained.