General News of Thu, 31 Oct 201337

Deputy minister confirms government is broke

A Deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations, Felix Kwakye-Ofosu, has clearly indicated that government has no money to subsidize the new tariff rates proposed by the tariff review Technical Committee.

The technical team had proposed a reduction of the electricity tariff from the current 78.9% to 60%, but the Deputy Minister said this would mean government has to cough up over 200 million Ghana cedis to make up for the difference, which in his opinion was not going to augur well and will definitely have “serious implications” for other government programmes.

Felix Kwakye-Ofosu made this public at the daily media briefing at the Flagstaff House yesterday ahead of Organized Labour’s planned nationwide demonstration on the 18th of next month to press home demands for reduction in the new utility tariffs.

The Deputy Minister explained that the PURC is an independent institution and therefore government is unable to interfere in their activities, but could only plead with organized labour to exercise restraints.

Minister in charge of Public-Private-Partnerships, Mr. Rashid Pelpuo, had said that some investors were pulling out of the energy sector because Ghana’s tariff regime was not rewarding enough, adding that reducing the tariff would further worsen the situation.

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He said government will continue to engage labour so that they do not embark on the intended strike because any such action will negatively affect the economy.

The Executive Coordinator of Labour Rights Institute, Mohammed Affum, told Joy News though he had not experienced such a nation-wide demonstration as was being contemplated, “I shudder to look at the situation when the strike takes off.”

He was emphatic that the “situation won’t be pleasant at all.”

Meanwhile, MPs have expressed worry at what they describe as the intransigent posture taken by government whiles calling for quick resolutions to the current situation.

Source: New Crusading Guide

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