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General News of Monday, 12 July 2010

Source: GNA

GTUC urges government to suspend implementation of new tariffs

Accra, July 12, GNA - Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), on Monday called on government to suspend implementation of the new utility tariffs pending the outcome of the review exercise.

He pointed out that the tariffs announced by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) were imposing unbearable hardships on households and businesses. Mr Asamoah made the call at a press conference organised by GTUC in Accra.

He said as government and other stakeholders had identified several mistakes in the module used by the PURC to arrive at the increases which raised further doubts about the basis for the tariff increases, government would have to suspend the new tariffs in order not to make Ghanaians suffer the detrimental effects.

"The GTUC demands a comprehensive review of the tariffs covering all categories of consumers including residential, non-residential and consumer services, which deserved equal attention," he said. However, Mr Asamoah noted that GTUC was not against tariff increments but rather against the magnitude of the increase. He said this had a growing tendency for government agencies to increase tariffs and other charges with absolutely no regard for the prevailing low levels of income in the country. "We expect the new tariffs to be commensurate with the income levels of Ghanaians," he said.

Mr Asamoah said the assertion by PURC that lifeline residential users consumed between 0 to 50 units of electricity was not true; adding that previous adjustment of utility tariffs had pegged lifeline consumption at a maximum of 150 units.

He reiterated GTUC's position to continue to oppose vehemently the magnitude of the increases in tariffs until the outcome of the review. Mr Asamoah assured all working people of Ghana that leadership of GTUC would follow closely the review process to ensure that the outcome was realistic and reasonable.

He urged them to continue wearing the red bands until the tariffs were reviewed downwards.