Former General Secretary of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, has asked President John Dramani Mahama to make some effort to salvage what is left of his fast sinking image, by ensuring that, for once, he honours the pledge he made to the nation to reduce the current humungous electricity tariffs.
According to Sir John, as he is affectionately called, the notoriety that has come to be associated with the president for the alacrity with which he makes promises he knows he cannot honour is just as huge as “the ‘Oponko’ electricity tariffs” Ghanaians are paying under his administration.
While on his recent ‘Accounting to the People’ tour of the Greater Accra Region, President Mahama, at Madina, gave a firm promise to the nation that his government was going to reduce electricity tariffs by July 1, 2016.
The promise was made the same day residents and business owners from three adjoining towns in Accra – Nungua, Teshie and La – had taken to the streets in protest against the “killer Mahama Oponko” tariffs.
President Mahama described the demonstration as needless, and promised that suffering Ghanaians would heave a sigh of relief with a reduction in what they currently pay for electricity, starting from July 1.
But four days into the month of July, there is no indication on the ground to show that President Mahama intended to honour his promise to the nation.
Information available to the Daily Statesman indicates that the International Monetary Fund has been kicking against any move to reduce the current electricity tariffs. As things stand now, it is up to the Mahama government to either hear the cries of suffering Ghanaians and adjust the charges downwards or remain “tied to the apron strings” of the IMF while the people continue to suffer.
Opposition parties in the Northern Region last week Wednesday held a joint press conference to articulate the hardships imposed on the people, with particular reference to the killer electricity tariffs, and to demand action from the Mahama government.
Representatives of the New Patriotic Party, Convention People’s Party, People’s National Convention, All People’s Congress and the Progressive People’s Party, together with some identifiable groups, including dressmakers, hairdressers, barbers, welders, small-scale industrialists, issued a one-week ultimatum to President Mahama to ensure a 50 per cent reduction in the tariffs or face their wrath.
“If the President was not behind it [the killer tariffs], he would not have promised ECG consumers in Accra to expect price reduction by 1st July. Mr President, reduce electricity tariffs by at least half within seven days or face the full force of our collective anger,” they charged.
According to Sir John, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily Statesman, “if for nothing at all, President Mahama should listen to the cries of the people in the Northern Region, whose cries were clearly articulated by all the main opposition parties in the area just last week and honour his promise to reduce the electricity tariffs.”
“As the people pointed out, times are very hard; the high cost of electricity is killing businesses, which we now call ‘Mahama Oponko tariffs’ and so President Mahama should not treat his promise to reduce the tariffs as just one of the normal ones he makes to deceive Ghanaians. He should, for once, try and honour this promise, so that he can bring some honour to his fast sinking image with his ‘promise and fail’ conduct,” he added.
Source: Daily Statesman
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