Posted: Tuesday 3rd June 2014 at 18:06 pm

Govt reverses decision to withdraw utility subsidies for tertiary institutions

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Government has reversed its decision to withdraw utility subsidies to universities and polytechnics across the country.

Speaking at a press briefing Tuesday, Education Minister, Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang revealed cabinet has reversed the decision after she “made a special submission to cabinet”.

Government earlier this year announced a decision to wean all government agencies off its budgetary allocation on utility subsidies.

The decision meant tertiary institutions and other state agencies were to shoulder their utility bills. State agencies, including public tertiary institutions, are said to be owing over 1 billion cedis in utility tarrifs.

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology owed in excess of Gh¢ 800,000 as at February 2014, Joy News sources have learnt.

Authorities at the University of Cape Coast have a debt burden of Gh¢1 million from Gh¢ 300,000 cedis in January.

The Accra Polytechnic is in arrears of Gh¢113, 572. The University of Ghana is yet to cover the cost its arrears.

To operationalise the consequences of owing, the Electricity Company of Ghana wrote to public tertiary institutions warning it would not hesitate to cut power if debts are not settled.

In response, public tertiary institutions planned to charge students for electricity they consume.

The University of Cape Coast will be charging Gh¢400 for residential students and Gh¢300 for non-resident, the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) revealed.

News of government rescinding its decision would please NUGS who had threatened a showdown with government if it persists with the withdrawal of subsidies.

According to NUGS President, Sammy Dakwa Binfoh, the move by government amounts to “relinquishing its commitment to students”.

In view of the reversal, government has said it will be thinking about innovative ways to pay the subsidies

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