Ghanaians speak out About the Upwards Adjustments in Water and Electricity Tarriffs



INTRODUCTION:
The Public Utilities And Regulatory Commission (PURC) has announced an upward adjustment in water and electricity tariffs by 15% increase in water, as well as a 51.73% increase in electricity tariffs, effective 1 July using the Automatic Adjustment Formula.

But please hold it! The PURC says“it has decided to defer the increase for electricity due to the current electricity supply situation but has decided to pass on the adjustment for water because of the notable expansion in water infrastructure and considerable improvement in supply”

The price at which fuel is sold at the filling station has also not remained stable but there has been a downward adjustment already with another one yet to the announced.
Well, what do the people say? Please lets go to the streets of Accra and find out what the people have to say and what do you have to say dear reader? Please send your comments and lets keep the blog active.

Mr J.K Asante (Exercise Books Supplier)
“We have complained several times about the rise in the price of basic utilities over the years but no one listens and we seem to have been holed up into a system we cannot remove ourselves from, I do not like the increment because it is a major drain on my pocket.
I used to work at the Ghana Publishing Company set up by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah until sometime in 1982, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) came to sack over two-thousand and four hundred workers in Tema, Accra, Takoradi and Tamale under a redeployment policy during the era of Jerry John Rawlings.
Within a twinkle of an eye a few white men and local collaborators changed the destiny of thousands of workers of this country for the worse.
We took the matter to court and to the Commissioner for Human Rights And Administrative Justice but nothing came out of it. What we see today has happened before and all it tells me is that not much has changed and it can easily be predicted that for the next three to four years, we are going to be subjected to a reasonable level of suffering.
The government will have to implement austerity measures after the money they took from the white men and sick people, school children, trotro drivers and ordinary Ghanaians will have to suffer. What is painful is that our consent is not sought when they do these things but we are the ones who must pay not the policy makers”

Mr Robert Ofori (Car Hiring Services Operator)
“I am more concerned about getting the fuel readily available so that I can go about my regular duties without being stranded or having to queue at the filling station for long hours.
Of course we are also worried about the increases because the amount of litres I got when I bought Ghc 100 has decreased drastically and we must all be worried. I am not happy also because there has been no corresponding upward adjustment in my monthly salary but we must be realistic and address the matter before us appropriately.
On the other side of the coin if these increases are meant to ensure that there is efficiency and stability in the supply of fuel then we must bear with it.”

Mr Kojo Afful (Private Security Worker)
“Everyone is deeply worried about the recent increases in the price of water and electricity because it is a threat to the national security. We are even more worried because we do not have these utilities provided consistently and the income of the average Ghanaian has not improved. However, we must be sincere and admit that we need water and electricity so it is up to everyone to make small contributions to the government to ensure that it is able to provide these services.
It is very easy to blame the government for the shortages of water and electricity we have in the country but who could have done differently? We have to change electric cables and extend water to areas where there is none and it takes money to bring these about so we must pay.
Mr journalist, I have a disturbing matter more important than water and electricity and I think the Mahama government must move in and find solutions to them immediately else this country will be dragged into a terrible state of insecurity. That problem is killing me and other security officers and it has brought untold hardships into our households. My brother, we have a law in our country which allows for individuals to set up private security companies to protect private and public property apart from the Ghana Police Service.
The problem is that the owners or the directors of the private security companies are robbing their employees brutally. Why must the director of my security company charge Ghc800 for the security services I provide, he takes my money and gives me only Ghc 150 or in some instances Ghc 200 of that amount. We do not do the work with them because whilst they sleep in the comfort of their beds with their wives and children, we watch through the night to make sure that our clients are not attacked and their properties are safe.
We are calling on the President to step in and order that henceforth private security officers are paid through the Controller and Accountant General’s Department because we are also offering essential services. We have been cheated for far too long and the time has come for justice to be done.
Security men also have envious academic credentials but we are here because there are no jobs in the country and we have wives and children to feed and clothe. We are citizens of this country and if the Head of State is concerned about my welfare and that of my colleagues, the time has come to prove it. We must not be treated with impunity. The only difference between me and my director is the money that is being stolen from me by him. That is how they get rich and they tell us they are working hard. What hard work do they do? Everyone must understand that private security operatives are more in control of the security of the state because we offer more services than the Ghana Police and it will not be in the interest of anyone of us if things should get out of hand. If the Police is not treated with disdain, no businessman must be allowed to treat his workers so. We are better Police men and women and we are equally qualified to join the Police Service. We no longer want contract security, we need permanent employment. We cannot even take loans because our salaries are on table tops and are not good. We beg the President to intervene and stop this vicious and inhumane treated meted out by private security companies on their security men. We also deserve better.”

Zinabu Halidu (Koko or porridge seller)
“We rely almost entirely on electricity to mill our maize or millet which is used in preparing Koko so why must you increase the price of electricity even more at this time when there is an erratic power supply. The power crisis has gone on for too long. How am I expected to survive and take care of my children when I cannot be sure that I can have consistent supply of electricity to mill my grains and prepare breakfast for the workers and the school children. We pray to Allah to help the President to solve the problem.”

Mr Emmanuel Yabani (Trade Unionist)
“The recent increases have undoubtedly added unto the burdens of workers and the general public.
Over time, the prices of goods and services have risen sharply because of the fall in the value of the cedi.
The traders are saying Enye Mia, Eye dollar nu (It is not me, ) because of the fluctuations in the exchange rate of our currency compared to the other currencies. So to slap the suffering workers with increases in the prices of fuel, water and electricity at this time is too much for the ordinary Ghanaian to bear.
The conditions in which Ghanaian find themselves is distressing and the Government must do something about it.”

Mr Osei Boateng (Driver)
“ I live in Tema and work in Accra. Previously I paid Ghc2 for transportation to Accra and another Ghc2 when I going home. As we speak, I pay Ghc4 to Accra and Ghc4 back to Tema without any significant improvement in my salary. This is how the increase in the price of fuel affects me every day.
There can be no justification for the increases in the price of fuel because we also have crude oil in Ghana as a property of the people of this country. Why are only a few people benefitting from the crude oil while we continue to live as if that resource never existed? We are suffering in this country because the majority of us have to sacrifice in order that a few people can live ostentatious lifestyles.
I find it troubling that whilst there has not been any significant improvement in the supply of electric power and the government is asking us to bear with it, the PURC can announce upward adjustments in electricity. My general expectation is that the prices will be reviewed to bring the prices down else the Mahama administration will suffer dearly for it. They should not wrench our hopes and hope to revive it a few months to the elections next year because we have become wiser and we will hold them accountable today and pass a verdict on the 7th of December 2016. Nobody will be allowed to cheat the workers of this country any longer.”

Matthew Tulasi (Driver, TUC)
“I think the problem is not about the increases in the price of fuel and electricity and water because those increases have always happened in the past and I am therefore not surprised when they happen today.
The problem is that the people we stand in the sun and elect into office have no credibility. If they had a shred of credibility and they are true to themselves as public servants and to God, you do not come to solicit my vote and once you get elected you do amazingly contrary to every promise that you made to me.
Since the return to multi party politics in 1992 up until now, none of the parties which managed to get elected into power have been sincere to the people. They only exploit the frustrations of workers over our ever worsening economic conditions to win political power and that is all.
If I may ask, what homage are we paying to the countless number of people who died in the struggle to return our country to a democracy if this is all we have to offer?”

Alidu Agume (Car Hiring Services)
“A few months ago, when I bought 100Ghc worth of fuel I got 36 litres but as of today I only get 30 litres. The reason why I refuse to accept this situation is that the price of crude has fallen on the international market and that is where we buy the crude. If the government cannot reduce the price of fuel what it must do at worse is to stabilize the price.
It is absolutely unacceptable and we demand answers to the questions we are asking. Why have the people who bring fuel into this country been allowed to form a cabal and cut the throats of the citizens of this country? We are feeling the pinch in every sphere of our national lives and something must be done to alleviate the suffering of the people of this country.”

Isaac Afful (Trader)
“I believe that in a third world country like Ghana, we cannot expect to live in so much comfort until we work a lot harder to turn over the fortunes of this country.
What we can do to avoid buying so much fuel after the increases is to use fuel enhancers which prevents too much consumption of fuel by the vehicle and maintains the strength of the engine.
With respect to the power crisis, what we need to do is to bring in investors from other countries to take over the management of the power sector to make it better. We are told that the turbines at Akosombo Dam have broken down so when we even have so much rainfall, the Dam cannot generate the power we need in our homes and workplaces. At this moment, we need the white men to come in with their high technology which can produce power very cheaply and will help with the take off of the industrial base of the country.
I do not know much about the state of the Aboadze thermal plant but we expect that it will add some megawatts of power to the national grid. There is so much talk of solar panels as an alternative and I know that there is a Chinese company called Sunshine Ghana which has brought in solar panels and are installing them very cheaply for many households. These are the kinds of things we must do to solve the problem of the erratic power supply. The time has come for us to move away from the Akosombo Dam and bring in other alternatives which are cheaper and more efficient.”

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