The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu says Cabinet is considering a waiver in electricity tariffs.
This comes after calls from various quarters including the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Minority in Parliament and former President John Mahama who argue that absorbing the tariff will help ease the burden on Ghanaians amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
Osei Keyi Mensah Bonsu said the government is weighing its options before such a decision is made.
He stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has badly affected the country’s revenues and as such, any such decision on waivers must be carefully thought through.
“The president has since last week been talking about this, that he is considering whether or not the nation will have money. This matter has come before Cabinet. Cabinet is discussing it and Cabinet will make a decision. Of course, you have to look at the inflows. Don’t forget that revenues have cascaded downwards, petroleum revenue, tax revenue too, and now there is a slowdown,” the Suame legislator said.
He said the country’s economy risks getting into a difficult position if the pandemic continues for the next four months.
Meanwhile, Ghanaians have started benefiting from a government waiver on water tariffs.
The intervention, according to President Nana Akufo-Addo is to last for the months of April, May and June.
The president urged the Ghana Water Company Limited and the Electricity Company of Ghana to ensure the stable supply of water and electricity during the period.
He also indicated that arrangements were being made for communities that do not enjoy water supply to be served by water tankers.
“In addition, there will be no disconnection of supply. Furthermore, the government will absorb the water bills for all Ghanaians for the next three months, ie, April, May, and June. All water tankers, publicly and privately-owned, are also going to be mobilized to ensure the supply of water to all vulnerable communities,” Akufo-Addo said.
Calls for electricity tariffs reduction feasible
The Institute for Energy Security says a reduction in electricity tariffs can only be considered by the government if there are enough funds to take make up for the revenue shortfall.
The Executive Director of the Institute for Energy Security, Paa Kwesi Anamuah Sakyi said a thorough analysis of the request is important before a decision is made.
“As such a time, you only seek for relief for your citizens. Given that we are getting money from the private sector as well as the Stabilization Fund, if it is enough, then we can consider reducing the price of electricity as well to ensure that the citizens have some form of relief. We need to have this money available to fill the gap, either than that, the power sector will suffer in future. So it is a good call but we should be mindful of how to fill the gap. For us at IES, the reliable consistent power supply is more key than to have a reduced price of a commodity and not making it available and so we should consider that in the equation,” he said.