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Parents would soon be saddled with additional school fees as the John Dramani Mahama-led government withdraws subsidies on utility services to schools and other educational institutions, Daily Guide can confirm.

Official directives emanating from the Ghana Water Company says government will no longer pay the utility bills of Ministries, Departments and Agencies and this will include public schools and other educational institutions.

But the authorities in these institutions have vowed to pass on the cost to the students, a situation which will ultimately reflect in school fees increments, thus worsening the already precarious situation.

Daily guide has gathered that this directive will take retrospective effect from January 2013, therefore, the subsidy component of these utilities would be borne by the institutions.

The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) have hinted parents that they should be prepared to pick up the cost of utilities of their wards, as government withdraws subsidy f or Senior High Schools (SHS), Training Colleges, Universities, Polytechnics and other educational installations.

The President of CHASS, Samuel Ofori Adjei, is quoted on Joy FM as saying “subsequently, we have to pass on the payment of the utilities to parents. There will be a slight increase in the fees that parents pay every term.”

Last month, the utility companies; the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Water Company (GWCL) increased their tariffs by a whopping 79 and 52 percent respectively, and this has sparked extreme outrage among the general public.

As soon as the new tariffs were announced, government began moves to withdraw subsidies on these utilities, compelling consumers to bear the full brunt of the hikes.

According to Felix Kwakye Ofosu, a Deputy Information and Media Relations Minister, during the daily media briefing at the Flagstaff House yesterday, subsidizing utilities of these institutions would mean government coughing up over GH¢200 million to make for the difference. This he claims will have “serious implications” for other government programmes.

The Mahama-government has indicated that it has no money to subsidies the new tariffs. The difficulty to subsidies utilities and other intervention is a result of the general cash-strapped situation confronting the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

Already, Organized Labour groups under the Trades Union Congress (TUC) are threatening a nationwide industrial action on November 18, to protest the new utility price hikes.

They say there is no turning back on their decision to stay out of their jobs.
Source: Raphael Ofori-Adeniran/Daily Guide

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