Ghana Trades Union expresses concern over directive on tariffs

The Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) on Wednesday expressed disappointment over government’s directive to utility providers to implement increase in tariffs.

Mr. Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of GTUC addressing a press conference in Accra, said though they appreciated the Government’s intervention which led to the formation of a technical committee, “they were however, shocked that government unilaterally accepted the committee’s report and directed that it should be implemented by the utility providers.”

He said since the technical committee was set up by stakeholders, including the GTUC, AGI, PURC and the utility providers, they expected that the report would be discussed and an agreement reached on the way forward.

Mr. Asamoah pointed out that the Steering Committee of GTUC considered government’s action as unacceptable and wished to express their disappointment of government’s decision to go ahead with the implementation of the technical committee’s report without any discussions with the stakeholders who together formed and tasked the committee with the responsibility to examine the concerns of GTUC and AGI.

He emphasised that GTUC was not against the tariff increases but found it unacceptable for Ghanaians to fill the gap revenues of the utility companies which might have accrued over a four-year period in a year.

Mr. Asamoah said GTUC considered the 38.9 per cent increase in tariffs for residential consumers to be paid in a year too much for working Ghanaians considering the harsh socio-economic conditions and the low level of income in the country.

“The GTUC is of the view that the PURC did not take into account the plight of Ghanaians especially those in the low income bracket, when the tariffs were being approved”, he added.

Mr. Asamoah on behalf of GTUC appealed to government to ensure that the 38.9 per cent increase was spread over a two-year period in order that 50 per cent of the increment was paid this year and the other 50 per cent in 2011.

He explained that this would reduce the burden of increased tariffs on the working people of Ghana and further demonstrate government’s sensitivity to the plight of Ghanaians.

Mr. Asamoah urged government to take necessary measures to ensure that inefficiencies in the operations of utility companies were reduced to the minimum and entreated government to respond to their demands.

Source: GNA

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