21 July 2016

Media Network blasts government over new subsidies

ecg3Media Network for Change, an anti-corruption media group in the Ashanti region has described government’s announcement of new subsidies on electricity bills as the worst insult and mockery on the intelligence of the many suffering Ghanaians.

According to them, the NDC government should rather be serious in its handling of the feelings and frustrations of Ghanaians, but not to add salt to injury by resorting to propaganda.

The MNfC in a statement noted that, the ‘politically motivated’ move is irrelevant, as that will amount to absolutely nothing, because most Ghanaians consume beyond 50 units.

President of the Media Network for Change, Richard Akwasi Asante, who signed the release, added that what the NDC government has done is a clear and deliberate attempt to deceive the good people of Ghana, knowing very well that almost all consumers of electricity use power beyond 50 unit.

To the network, what consumers urgently need is not subsidies but a drastic reduction in the taxes imposed by government. According to the media group, the target of the subsidy, described as ‘lifeline consumers’ are hugely unlikely to benefit from that “politically motivated freebies” because those consumers do not have separate meters to dictate how much power they use.

“It is totally impossible for a 50 unit power consumer to have a separate meter. They share the same meter with other tenants, pushing up the total consumption beyond 50 units…that is why this whole gimmick is laughable…Ghanaians should open their eyes”, Richard Asante stated.

The group asked: “Is it not interesting that government earlier diagnosed the problem of high electricity cost due to problematic meters, challenges in software implementation and tempering of bills by ECG staff and now proposes subsidy as the solution?”

In their view, since government used the law to achieve the hikes in electricity cost to give it a ‘permanent’ effect, until amended, it is only fair and prudent that it uses the same law to achieve lowering of electricity cost.

The journalists noted that despite the subsidy announcement being illegal, it is a charade intended to get votes from unsuspecting electorates.

“The taxes, the levies, increase in tariff by PURC were all done through Parliament to give them legal effect… the subsidy announced does not have any Parliamentary approval. Thus, it stands to reason that this makes it very easy to withdraw anytime – for example, immediately after elections. Government is trying to be smart here,” they observed.

The MNfC also wanted to know what would happen when the GHC 300 million alloted for the subsidy gets exhausted. “Has government now accepted that it is the taxes, levies, tariff increases and the withdrawal of subsidies that have generally caused the high electricity costs, but not the ECG meters and software that generally caused it,” they wanted to know.

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