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General News Mon, 7 Jun 2010

CPP asks NDC to freeze recent increase in utility tariffs

Accra, June 7, GNA - The Conventions People's Party (CPP) has condemned the recent increase of water and electricity tariffs, describing the action as an indicator of the failure of government to stick to the Better Ghana agenda.

A statement issued by Mr William Dowokpor, CPP Communications Director said it was on record that as a presidential candidate; President John Evans Atta Mills promised to reduce utility prices drastically if he became the Head of State.

"With the huge increases in water and electricity tariffs today, it is obvious that those indicators held dear by political parties who profess belief in human centred development such as the protection of the national economy, citizen's welfare, small business development and expansion of local industries and the use of interventions to reduce hardship on ordinary citizens including job creation have been rejected by the NDC (National Democratic Congress) Administration," he said.

He noted that it is through electricity that rural communities will advance and develop. "Without electricity modern life, in the electronic era we live in is impossible; industries both big and small need electricity, to survive and get a chance to grow and create the jobs needed by millions of unemployed Ghanaian youth."

"Yet electricity tariffs have been allowed to move to levels inconsistent with even the Mills Administration's own economic policy of fighting inflation and reducing deficits. Ghanaians industries will chalk huge deficits this year as the price increase announced were not budgeted for or anticipated given the NDC government's promise to keep utility prices low."

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Mr Dowokpor said less than a week ago, Parliament amended the Public Utility Regulation Commission Act (PURC) (Act 538) to enable the commission to increase levies on electricity and natural gas transmission among others things.

This he said had given the PURC "the licence to kill without accountability", as evident in the increase of 89 per cent of electricity tariffs and 36 per cent for water.

The Communications Director said conspicuously absent in the debate was the need for reliable laws to ensure value for money. He said while the CPP recognised the need to fund the capital expansion programmes of the utility services, a double digit increase of electricity and water was the most insensitive decision a government could take as the impact would be counter productive given the correlation between electricity price increase and cost of production.

"The CPP is concerned that the increase in the two utilities would worsen the already bad economic situation in the country. The poor are already reeling under high cost of food and fuel, while small businesses suffer high interest rates."

Mr Dowokpor noted that unemployment rates are ever escalating and "it therefore comes as a shock to the CPP that a government with a Better Ghana agenda would impose such harsh conditions on the people of Ghana". He said it was a clear indication that the country had already missed the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. Mr Dowokpor said all progressive economies depend on abundant, affordable energy to thrive, but under the NDC administration, energy both fuel and power, had become scarce and unaffordable to Ghanaians, He called on the government to take immediate steps to reverse the increase. 7 June 10

Source: GNA
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