The penchant of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to increase tariff in the face of hard times for Ghanaians is not only disgusting, but defies logic and smacks of a deliberate attempt to further pauperise some of its already impoverished consumers.
PURC yesterday, August 22, implemented a 4.22 percent increase in electricity tariffs for all non-lifeline residential customers, affecting the average end-user. This decision comes after a review carried out for the third quarter of 2023 by the PURC.
According to the PURC, the primary objective behind the tariff adjustment is to ensure that the real value of the cost of providing utility services is upheld.
In terms of water tariffs, the release from the PURC said, lifeline customers will also benefit from a freeze on tariff adjustments, with no increase or alteration (0%) in their rates. However, for all other categories of water consumers, the PURC has approved a 1.18 percent increase in tariffs.
Over the years, the PURC has been making the case for cost reflective tariff insisting that what Ghanaians pay for utility does not truly reflect the cost of generation and distribution.
Following from this, anytime there is an adjustment in tariff, Ghanaians are informed that, it is to help improve supply.
As a newspaper, we are not oblivious of the need to have a cost-reflective tariff, we strongly believe that such can justifiably be done only when the economy has improved, as things stand now PURC is just compounding the woes of Ghanaians.
The Ghana Statistical Service on August 16, just a fortnight ago, announced that the country’s year-on-year Producer Price Inflation (PPI) inched up to 32.7 per cent in July 2023 from 29.2 per cent in June 2023.
According to the Government Statistician, Professor Samuel K. Annim, who announced this explained that the rise in the PPI was driven by the increase in the year-on-year PPI rate of electricity and gas sub-sector and mining and quarrying.
The Government Statistician said electricity and gas sub-sector recorded the highest year-on-year producer price inflation rate of 69.6 per cent.
The increments will further worsen the economic environment for the ordinary Ghanaian. For this alone, the government, must be concerned and, perhaps, step in to reverse this unpopular announcement.
It is our considered opinion that there is no justification, whatsoever, for a new hike in utility tariff given the fact that times are hard for Ghanaians.