The Tema District Council (TDC) of Labour has registered its displeasure with Government over the increase in water and electricity tariffs.
“We have observed with grave concern the clandestine manner in which the government is hiding behind the Automated Tariff Adjustment Formula and the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) to increase the tariffs without due regard to affordability since workers’ pay has not been increased to match with the utility tariff increases. We, the workers of Tema, vehemently oppose such nefarious practices considering the already high cost of living.
Commending the Trades Union Congress (TUC) for expressing similar concerns recently, the TDC, in a statement jointly signed by its chairman, Wilson Agana, and secretary, Ebenezer Kodwo Taylor, and issued in Accra yesterday, said the hikes in utilities had increased the cost of doing business in Ghana since most industries thrive on manageable cost of production.
“Companies are contemplating laying-off workers as a result of this action by government.
With all these tariff increases, we still experience ‘Dumso, Dumso’ and lack of water supply to our homes and industries. We therefore state that utility companies should address the inefficiencies with the needed attention.
It said Government’s increment of VAT from 15 percent to 17.5 showed its insensitivity to the plight of citizenry, adding that the increase in VAT has increased all prices of goods and services astronomically.
On fuel price hikes, it noted: “We abhor Government’s use of NPA through the drastic decline of the cedi to increase prices of fuel arbitrary. Increasing fuel prices affect transport fares, which are eventually transferred onto prices of goods and services. This adversely affects the purchasing power of ordinary worker since wages and salaries have not been increased to match the effect.
On the performance of the local currency, the TDC said: “We are alarmed and saddened at the way the one-time cherished and envious currency of ours has been faring against the major currencies of the world.
“In our research, we observe that the most pressure on the limited foreign currencies is coming from the importation of finished petroleum products by bulk distribution companies (BDCs). This tide must be stemmed by making Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), which has been inactive for several months now to work.”
Furthermore, it spoke against a government directive not to increase salaries for 2014 despite the numerous utility and fuel price increases.
“So will we be right to conclude that government is very insensitive to concerns and plight of workers. It is strange to imagine where all the taxes, levies and the other increases being collected are sent to, or what is being done with it. We are suffering, authorities should know.”