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Public Benefits From Subsidy Despite Electricity Tariff Hike   
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The government has stated that 1,326,000 of the 2.4 million consumers of electricity will continue to benefit from subsidy despite the recent increase in electricity tariff. The subsidy regime is under the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) support scheme for the poor and vulnerable.

Explaining the subsidy regime at the Flagstaff House yesterday, Mr Mahama Ayariga, the Minister of Information and Media Relations, said consumers of between zero and 50 units enjoyed a flat subsidy of GH¢0.61 per consumer in addition to GH¢0.16 subsidy per kilowatt.

The Information Minister said analysis done by the ECG and the government showed that "all workers continue to benefit under the existing subsidy regime as they cannot consume beyond the 50 units".

He said consumers of between 51 and 150 units, who were mainly in the industrial sector, did not enjoy flat subsidy but they got a per kilowatt subsidy of GH¢0.041.

All workers, including members of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), are beneficiaries of the subsidy regime, according to Mr Mahama Ayariga, who stressed that, "Despite the increases, there is still a life-line support for the poor."

He said the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, and managers of utility companies had begun discussions on how to further mitigate the effect of recent increases on consumers.

Educational campaign

Meanwhile, Mr Ayariga said President John Dramani Mahama had directed the Minister of Energy and Petroleum and the Energy Commission to embark on an educational campaign to sensitise the public to best practices in the use of electricity.

"If the campaign is successful, we can reduce our spending on utility by 30 per cent," he said.

The PURC approved 78.9 per cent and 52 per cent increases in electricity and water tariffs, respectively, with effect from October 1, 2013.

But on Tuesday, October 8, 2013, the Secretary-General of the TUC, Mr Kofi Asamoah, gave the government and the PURC a 10-day ultimatum to reduce the utility tariffs or face a nationwide strike.

In its response, the government urged the TUC to review its stance on the 10-day ultimatum it had given to the government and the PURC to reduce utility tariffs.

The government issued a statement indicating it had set up a working group to look into the impact of the recent utility tariff hikes to present its preliminary report for mitigation measures to be taken.
Source: Daily Graphic

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