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We Can’t Pay – TUC Slaps NDC

We Can’t Pay – TUC Slaps NDC File Image

increases are just too high, workers and indeed all Ghanaians are crying – We just cannot pay!”

These were the concluding remarks of a strongly worded statement issued by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in reaction to the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) recent announcement of increases of 78.9 per cent and 52 per cent respectively in electricity and water tariffs effective yesterday, October 1, 2013.

The statement signed by Kofi Asamoah, TUC Secretary-General said “the Steering Committee is outraged by the rate of increases as announced by the PURC.”

“The Committee finds a near 80 per cent increase in electricity tariffs and over 50 per cent increase in water to be too high and well above the pocket of the ordinary Ghanaian. The Steering Committee took the view that increases of such magnitude could only be described as insensitive and a stab in the back of the Ghanaians.”


The killer tariffs have not been rejected by the TUC alone but other organizations including the Tema District Council of Labour; the Mass Action Group; Transparency and Accountability Forum (TAF) and Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG). AFAG insists “there is no justification for increases in utility tariffs” since according to them, “Ghanaians have no value for money with regard to the provision of these services.”

“This tariff increases will result in a consequential transmission effect.”

“The rush in tariff increase is just a passing of the buck,” the statement said, insisting that “government has failed woefully to fight corruption, and as is the case, the good people of this country will continue to pay for the price of this financial mess.”

The Tema District Council of Labour was very disappointed by the adjustment, warning that nobody should blame them for any fallout after increases. “Nobody should blame the TDCL should you go on with your cut throat tariff increases as we would resist vehemently at all length,” it warned.

All these groups and others have threatened to hit the streets, if the increases are not withdrawn.

The TUC statement said that it discussed many issues including “the impact of this middle-of-the-year sky-high increase on industry and businesses,” noting, “already industry is saddled with too many constraints and that the least government could do was to compound their problems.”

“Already, some industrial entities are being over-charged making them uncompetitive. The Committee reiterated the long-held view of the TUC that at this level of national development some level of subsidies is needed for some groups of Ghanaians who cannot afford electricity and water at the so-called realistic rate.”

The statement acknowledged that since the provision of adequate and affordable energy and water was paramount in the pursuit of national development, there was the need for the government to invest in energy and water sector infrastructure and ensure that “these basic necessities are available first and foremost before talking about so-called realistic tariffs.”

According to the TUC, “tariffs no matter how high they are pegged cannot and should not be substituted for the core investments in energy and water the government ought to be making.”

“A large part of the apparent management challenges are political. And over the past few years, Ghanaians have been made to pay for the inefficiencies of the utility companies. Even more disgusting is that, every round of tariff adjustments have been formulated on the premise that the adjustments were needed to enable the utility companies to deliver quality and efficient service. Thus far, such promises have turned to be a hoax an indication that there are other more important issues affecting the provision of utilities than the supposedly low tariffs.”

The TUC further said that it discussed the operations and the management of the utility companies and came to the conclusion that “while tariff adjustment could potentially form part of measures to revamp the energy sector, the PURC, utility companies and government have strangely avoided a discussion of the many management challenges that face the utility sector in Ghana.”

“The Committee further observed that these changes which include the cut-off of the gas from the West African Gas Pipe Line and the massive depreciation suffered by the cedi ought to have been addressed by the PURC through regular and gradual upward adjustment of tariffs.”

“But as has been the trend, for purposes of political expediency, the PURC, acting on the promptings of government, failed to apply the automatic adjustment formula agreed by all stakeholders. Now the PURC and government are calling on Ghanaians to foot the bill that has been occasioned by a political decision.”

They called on government and the PURC to stay the implementation of the tariff adjustment saying “the committee is of the view that, it is morally wrong for government to award 10 per cent increase in salaries only to turn round and impose such high increases in utility tariffs.”

“In addition, for the fourth time this year government has increased the price of fuel cumulatively over 30 per cent. Given the noisy nature of utility tariffs and fuel prices, workers and indeed Ghanaians are already reeling from the harsh economic conditions. The Committee and the TUC is proposing proper dialogue on not only tariff but equally importantly on the entire energy and water situation in the country.”

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