Haruna Iddrisu, Employment and Labour Relations Minister, says government will not reverse the imposition of new taxes and increased utility tariffs.
According to him, the increment in tariffs is to fix the erratic power supply that has bedeviled the country for about four years.
The Minister made this known after a meeting with Organized Labour on Tuesday over the tariffs which ended in a deadlock.
He said any attempt to reverse the increased tariffs and taxes would negatively affect government’s ability to fix the energy crisis.
Mr Haruna explained that there is an outstanding debt of GH¢4.5 billion cedis, which needs to be settled, hence government’s decision to introduce the new Energy Sector levy.
The levy has caused an increase in petroleum prices by about 28 percent.
He said the price stabilization adjustment would allow government to settle the GH¢4.5 billion outstanding debt.
“It is important that the Ghanaian public appreciates why government has had to take those difficult but necessary decisions to stabilize the economy and to fix the energy crisis and prevent it from relapsing into a deeper crisis,” the Minister said.
The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) announced in early December 2015 that electricity and water tariffs would go up by 59.2 percent and 67.2 percent respectively.
The increases took effect from December 14, 2015.
Many Ghanaians and businesses have described the recent increases as harsh and insensitive.
According to them, there is no justification for the increases, especially for fuel since crude oil prices on the world market have declined tremendously.
TUC, Gov’t meeting
The increases in tariffs and taxes forced Organized Labour to have a meeting with government on Tuesday.
According to sources, the Organized Labour asked for a reduction in utility tariffs and taxes.
By Cephas Larbi