The flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, has called for electricity tariffs to be reduced.
Akufo-Addo’s comment comes after the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) ordered the Electricity Company of Ghana to suspend the implementation of their new billing software until further notice.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, Akufo-Addo said the government must go beyond that to immediately reduce tariffs.
He said this was because the rates being charged Ghanaians domestic users and businesses were higher than what were being charged in some countries in the West African sub-region.
“In Ghana, my understanding is that the tariff for commercial users is 32 US cents/kilowatt hour. The Ivorian equivalent is 13 US cents/kilowatt hour. Again, for domestic users, we are talking about 19.28 US cents/kilowatt hour, when Cote d’Ivoire equivalent is a tariff of 9 US cents/kilowatt hour.
“So, you put these things together, and, already, Ghanaian industry and economic activity are suffering unnecessarily. A large part of it is due to the taxes, the insatiable appetite of the Mahama government for taxes – 10% energy levy which is charged for both domestic and commercial uses; a service charge of GH¢7 flat rate for every consumer and a VAT of 17½% for commercial users,” he said.
Akufo-Addo stated that the tariffs should be reduced to bring the electricity tariff system in Ghana to a much more competitive relationship with that of neighbouring countries.
“It is important for us to recognise in Ghana that, whatever we are doing, we are doing so in a globally competitive context, and if we don’t recognise that, many of the decisions we make about the management of our economy are going to put us at a disadvantage from the get go,” he said.
Several Ghanaians have complained about the high tariffs which they say have made life unbearable.
One of such customers, Kwasi Pratt – the managing editor of the Ghanaian Lens – told Accra-based Adom FM that his electricity bill had skyrocketed all of a sudden.
Pratt said: “My meter was changed and replaced with a new one. I was happy when they decided to change the meter for me but that was even more serious, I was told it is called Usain Bolt, it runs more than an athlete at the Olympic games…this is so serious.
“How can electricity bill that was around Ghs 300 move to Ghs 1200, when I complained, it jumped to Ghs1800; while we were still deliberating on this, it shot up to Ghs2000 something. The bill that was brought last month was just too serious, it was 6000 Ghana cedis, I don’t even know whether to cry or to laugh about this.”
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The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has also complained about what it says is the adverse impact of such high electricity bills on businesses.