The Ghana government has spent more than GH¢30million on utilities for the nine public universities in the country, the Finance Minister has said.
Mr Seth Terkper, has cautioned therefore, that subsidies on utilities could cripple the country’s budget, if allowed to exceed unreasonable limits.
He indicated that higher subsidies on utilities and petroleum are among major factors that caused the 2012 fiscal slippage.
“In as much as utilities and subsidies are important, we should make sure that they are not excessive because they bring the budget to its knees as we saw in 2012,” he stressed.
Mr Terkper said this in response to a question on payment of utilities by tertiary institutions, when he delivered a public lecture on “Challenges and experiences of managing the economy of Ghana”, at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), his alma mater.
He disclosed that government spent more than GH¢30million on utilities for only the nine public universities.
He expressed the need for tertiary institutions to consider adopting unconventional sources of electricity such as biogas and solar, use of prepaid meters as well as conserve energy and check illegal use of electricity.
Government has withdrawn payment of utilities for ministries, department and agencies while engaging in a nationwide debate as to whether the state would make tertiary students resident in halls, pay utility bills
Mr Terkper listed other causes of the 2012 fiscal slippage to include high wages and wage arrears payment under the Single Spine Salary Structure and high interest cost burden arising from steep rise in short term domestic interest rates.
Other factors, he said included higher spending on goods and services and shortfalls in corporate income taxes from petroleum sector and sho