Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, has asked Ghanaians not to be excited yet following government’s proposed average reduction of 13 percent in electricity tariffs for residential consumers, saying it will be insignificant when approved.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in announcing the proposal while presenting the 2018 budget and policy statement to Parliament on Wednesday, November 15, mentioned that for industry, government is looking at a 21 percent reduction.
The Minister said recommendations are going to be made to the PURC in this regard, which will bring a little more relief to businesses and domestic users of electricity.
Speaking on Eyewitness News however, Mr. Iddrisu questioned the possibility of this move, saying that the reduction will not be any significant, even if the PURC eventually approves the proposal.
Citing examples to support his claim, Mr. Iddrisu recalled that the previous administration [NDC] faced stiff opposition from Organised Labour when it introduced a similar proposal through the Energy Sector Levy.
“We have been there before. When we increased the Energy Sector Levy which affected increases in electricity tariffs, I presided over the resolution where Organised Labour protested vehemently over the matter and I do know the advice we got from experts from the PURC and what can be done.… I am saying let not people smile at a reduction which probably will be negligible or insignificant.”
Mr. Iddrisu also raised issues with the budget, describing it as incomplete document awash with unreliable promises.
According to him, the budget did not have estimates of a “real budget”, considering the fact that it failed to mention specific amounts allocated to various Ministries.
“I don’t think the document I had is a complete document. It is incomplete. He is laying a document which did not have estimates which is the real budget. I asked for instance how much allocation he is giving to the Ministry of Health and it was not provided in the copy that I had.”
“As leaders, we were given copies and I can say that what is conspicuously lost is the real budget of the estimates and sector by sector allocation.”
He also wondered how feasible government’s promise to provide 100,000 jobs for graduates was, given that the public sector is “over bloated.”