Graduate students kick against tariff hikes

Electricity metersThe Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) on Wednesday expressed concern about the utilities tariff increases approved by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) saying it was too high and ill-timed.

It said recent increases in utility tariffs have sparked numerous misgivings by various groups and individuals regarding its rather harsh impact on Ghanaians and Economic activities in the country.

Addressing a press conference in Accra Mr Asiwome Kodjo Tsamenyi, President of GRASAG, said public utilities were traditionally not necessarily expected to make profit but “operating at a profit is desired for reinvestment to cater for imminent challenges.”

Mr Tsamenyi said it was therefore imperative that the country’s utility providers became strategic in their operations to achieve self financing and sustenance.

“We cannot continue to look on while the infrastructure of the Ghana Water Company and the Electricity Company Limited deteriorate only to consider options to remedy the problems after the harm had been done,” he said.

“Water and electricity is not supposed to be and has not been free so there is no reason why citizens who pay for  these services should be made to suffer the inefficiencies and in some instances, outright incompetence of some managers of these utilities.”

Mr Tsamenyi suggested that annual tariff adjustment formula should be developed and entrenched in the laws of the country to ensure that users paid realistic tariffs to at least cover recurrent cost and also accumulate some profits for future investment.

He said “Short, medium and long term plans must be formulated and implemented to guide the operations of the utilities.”

Mr Tsamenyi appealed to President Dramani Mahama to give much credit to the National Health Insurance Scheme to operate effectively and efficiently and called on public sector workers to put in their best at their various duty posts to improve upon the image of the service.

“We further wish to appeal to Government and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to come out clearly on the true state of affairs regarding labour related challenges,” he said.

Source: GNA

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