Insignificant, Downward Review

the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC)

The excitement which comes with reduced utility tariffs is non-existent. Following the so-called downward review of the previous increases, such excitement should have been prevalent; not so, however, because of the palpable insignificance of the reduction. It is hardly appreciable or even noticeable.

There is also no sincerity in the action: political cynics even think that the crazy hikes were done on purpose so that after a few days of their announcements there would be an insignificant reduction. Government can then lay claim to being a listening one and reap political leverage thereof. In an election year such things can be used by cantankerous and desperate governments such as ours.

Following the hikes in utility tariffs, organised labour hit the streets in a countrywide demonstration which appears to have compelled the government to sit down with representatives of the workers.

We are not amused at the outcome and hereby deny both government and representatives of organised labour the plaudits which they may be wishing for. Government, for propaganda purposes, should be longing for such cheap plaudits after many setbacks on both the economic and political fronts.

The so-called reduction which is restrictive in scope to be enjoyed by households, apart from being insignificant, will have no respectable effect on the domestic bills. Workers who work in industries and private sector who bear the brunt of the domestic bills stand the risk of losing their jobs when their employers scale down production in response to the high tariffs. So what wisdom is there in the so-called reduction?

In any case, at the end of the month the companies or private sector players would appreciate better the seriousness of their plight. Private sector players and industries for that matter know that they are in a dire situation but do not understand the extent of their plight. They would only appreciate this and count their losses when they receive their first post-reduced bills.

It is instructive that Trade and Industry Minister Spio-Garbrah has also expressed concern about the still high tariffs. Although his concern is reaction about how this can affect the fortunes of the NDC in the forthcoming polls, it is still an issue worth the candle.

Anything worth doing must be worth doing well or even very well; that is why we ask that if government seeks to reduce the tariff hikes it should do so significantly and soonest.

The imposition of further taxes on petroleum products is something Ghanaians are worried about because of its all-encompassing repercussion.

 With the price of crude oil on the international market at an all-time low in a generation, there is no reason why government would still exploit this option in its craze to harvest more revenue.