The Public Utility Regulatory Commission yesterday announced another Electricity Tariff increment this year taking effect from 1st October 2019. This increment clearly lacks basis and defies logic.
It will be recalled that the PURC in its Major Tariff Review increased Electricity by 11.17% taking effect from 1st July 2019. It, therefore, comes as a shock that in just under 3 months, consumers are being called upon to shoulder an additional 5.94% increment.
The critical question is; what has really changed within this short period to warrant such a steep increment.
Even more disturbing is the fact that the Akufo Addo-led government during the July 2019 Mid-year Budget Review announced and implemented a major increment of the Energy Sector Levies to pay for capacity charges.
Contrary to the reasons given by the PURC, this recent increment is only a clandestine attempt to satisfy the already blotted Opex presented by PDS to PURC with the connivance of some top government officials who helped PDS draft a response for these outrageous claims.
Is this increment targeted at the proposed restructuring of the PDS deal with the objective of satisfying some cronies in their quest to take over the PDS deal through the backdoor?
This new increment, coming on the heels of recent upward adjustments of Energy Sector Levies, Transport fares, Petroleum Prices, Communications Service Tax as well as Electricity Tariffs is unjustified and must be condemned in the strongest terms possible as this will only aggravate the worsening conditions of ordinary Ghanaians.
The Akufo-Addo government since assuming office has completely lost focus and continue to adopt very poor policy decisions in the Energy Sector.
A clear case is the populist but unwise decision to usurp the functions of the PURC by announcing a so-called reduction in Tariffs in the early part of 2018 resulting in huge revenue shortfalls in the electricity value chain culminating in mounting debts which are threatening the Energy Sector SOEs and IPPs.
It is now abundantly clear that the so-called reduction was not only a populist political gimmick but a complete charade compounded with the all-time scandalous PDS transaction which has now become an albatross on the neck of this government.
President Akufo-Addo and the NPP must, without further delay, apologise profusely to the good people of Ghana for deceiving them.
It is most shocking to note that despite all the illegality and scandal surrounding the PDS deal, this government insists on keeping the PDS deal by going through a backdoor to re-structure the shares of PDS.
Finally, the opaque manner in which the energy sector is being managed coupled with the excessive political interference is gradually eroding the little confidence consumers had in the PURC.
The PURC is fast losing its relevance and must be reformed immediately.
The PURC and PDS must as a matter of urgency publish the Gazzete and Reckoner respectively for public scrutiny.
Akuffo Addo and his government should also be reminded that no amount of clean up on this mega PDS scandal will wash. We stand ready any day any time and will make sure Ghanaians are not shortchanged.
Columnist: John Abdulai Jinapor
Former Deputy Minister of Energy and Petroleum