Business News of 2013-12-04

‘Prepaid meters affecting public sector productivity’

Former deputy Energy Minister, Kobina Tahir Hammond has asked government to reverse the policy directing ministry, department and agencies (MDAs) to install prepaid meters.

K.T Hammond argued that the policy is affecting productivity in the public sector. Government introduced the policy in October as part of efforts to reduce the huge debts it owed utility companies but KT Hammond told Joy News' parliamentary correspondent, Elton John Brobbey that the directive has resulted in public sector workers reducing their working hours, because there was no money to buy credit on time.

"If you give a blanket policy or directive that all MDAs would have to have installed prepaid meters [that] is not the best way to go because in the process it retards productivity", KT Hammond intimated.

According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi West, most of the MDAs are complaining about the directive, noting, "It is not very easy for chief directors to get money from the government treasury".

He questioned why government's productivity should be compromised by that directive looking at the amount of time wasted as government workers sit ideal as a result of lack of electricity.

"It is a very bad policy and the government should go back on it. Just get them to get proper, enough and adequate supply of electricity and of course people should be mindful of the way they use power, ultimately, it will be useful", KT Hammond stressed.

Additionally, he noted that the system is cumbersome and does not help the productivity of the MDAs and government business. But Energy and Petroleum minister, Emmanuel Kofi Boah said the directive will not be reversed.

He said government by the directive is seeking to clear the indebtedness to the utility companies and prevent the situation from crippling them

"The issue of prepaid meters is critical to ensure sanity and financial soundness of this country and important for long term sustainability of the utilities", the energy minister asserted.