General News of Sunday, 20 October 2013
A prominent member of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Dr. Somtim Tobiga, says President John Mahama must necessarily add to his list of austere measures, the need for Ministers and Presidential Staffers to pay their own phone bills.
Tobiga’s suggestion follows a recent directive given by the President to all Ministers and Executive Officials to start paying by themselves, electricity bills at their official residences.
Additionally, all such Officials are to have prepaid electricity metres installed at their official residences.
Tobiga, however, believes the directive could have been more encompassing than it is.
“I will even have asked him to include telephone bills because telephone bills are more expensive than electricity”, Tobiga proposed.
He said: “I think the concept of electricity is probably to create symbolism rather than to actually make it bite, but if we were to make it bite, we would include telephone bills because people just leave their phones with their daughters, their friends and they talk to somebody in London until they go to sleep at the expense of the tax payer”.
“That is very dangerous”, he warned, and added that: “We don’t have that kind of money again. Everybody is suffering and, therefore, everybody must be called upon to contribute”.
Mahama’s directive comes in the wake of recent hikes in utility tariffs.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) recently increased electricity and water tariffs by 79% and 52% respectively.
Organised labour has kicked against the tariff hikes and given the Government a 10-day ultimatum to slash the hikes by a third or face its wrath.
President Mahama has in the interim, set up a technical review committee to handle the matter.