Gov't Must Absorb Tariff Hikes - K.T Hammond

Former Energy Minister under the Kufuor Administration, K.T Hammond is calling on the Mahama-led administration to find an alternative means of absorbing the hikes in utility tariffs. K.T Hammond opined that government’s absorption will reduce the burden on Ghanaians most of whom have not received a corresponding increase in wages. The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) announced in December 2013, hikes in utility tariffs in the year 2014 will be determined by an Automatic Adjustment Formula which will take effect from January, 2014. According to the PURC, electricity tariff will go up by 9.73 per cent while that of water will go up 6.80 per cent. But K.T Hammond has described the increase as unfair. The former Energy Minister said the absorption is key to minimizing the effect on Ghanaians. He said: “If you take a good look at the corresponding increases in the wages of Ghanaians, this is not about well to do or people in higher authority, they do not have any automatic increase in their pay pocket so there is no corresponding relationship between the automatic increase in tariffs and how much the people earn. Mr. Hammond insisted that it is unfair on Ghanaians, and urged government to live up to expectation by making life bearable for the citizens, adding that “Parliament may well have to have a good look at the law that governs the activities of PURC.” He recalled that “when the PURC came up with its supposed increases and all that, the government of John Agyekum Kufuor absorbed those increases.”