Editorial: Playing Water and Power Mind-game with Ghanaians Cruel

Humanity remains highly-indebted – thanks to God the Omniscient who gives out for free; absolutely free, for not placing the atmospheric oxygen that we breathe for living, into the creative hands of fellow human, let alone a tax-happy authority of men. We could have been extinct by now.

The entire nation of Ghana seemed to have been thrown into a panicky situation, when the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and its twin-sister the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), last week, came out boldly to tell the nation how much pound-of-flesh they desire to cut out of the Ghanaians’ skin in tariff increase: When the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) desires 148% increase in its tariff for 2022, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) also asked for 334% increase in tariffs.

The Anchor shockingly listened to the generated-debate on what many described as unrealistic demand by these two ‘notorious’ national entities, as ‘ordinary’ Ghanaians sung their rejection of the proposals in dirges and in diatribe. But ECG and GWCL insist their proposed increments are important to help them sustain their, respective operations.

So what exactly is the reason for the proposed price increases? ECG believes the financial sustainability of the company is important as the investments will help the power distribution industry over the next five years.

GWCL has similar explanation for its proposed 334% increase in water tariffs, as according to it, the cost of water production increase as a result of depreciation of the cedi. It stressed to the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) that it pays $7.93 million dollars as loan payment monthly, and averred this is 47.15% of their average monthly revenue; therefore, resolves, it has no other option than to recover the loan cash being paid through the tariff increment.

This paper believes the two service renderers to the people of Ghana are so daring, especially as immediate a time, as on the heels of the mysterious passage and subsequent signing into law by President Nana Akufo-Addo, of an Electronic Transaction tax (E-Levy) largely described as politically-controversial. But they remain daring because they know whatever the case may be after debate, they will, come what may, get ‘something’.

But the most chilling part, every ‘ordinary’ Ghanaian is dreading, the Anchor observes, is that per the proposed tariff increment, if accepted, would mean a consumer who pays Gh¢50 monthly for electricity today, would start paying Gh¢124 per month for water in Ghana: and, per 334% proposed water tariff increment, consumer paying Gh¢50 for water today must also brace themselves for Gh¢217 monthly; see the picture?.

The Anchor, indeed, sympathizes with these two utility outlets, right? We do, because, apart from the so-called “most powerful” individuals together with their juicy national positions they occupy owing huge debts to this entities and refusing to pay, several social miscreants also are allowed the field-day, most of the times and in many cases, through active involvement of corrupt officials of the ECG and GWCL, to dig bigger holes in the companies’ piggy-bags, through illegal connections of the services’ lines.

We recall several complaints leading to several “arrests and prosecutions and fines or and imprisonments” of such social offences. But the paper thinks if the above-punishment isn’t punitive enough and resultantly deterrent enough, why not the ECG and GWCL in collaboration with the nation’s law enforcement agencies upping their game?

The Anchor believes, surcharging the systemic failures on the already economic-burdened Ghanaian is tantamount to institutionalized blackmail on the people, in fact, the ‘ordinary people’ as well as, perpetration of ‘economic holocaust’, especially at this very material moment when every facet of society in every human endeavor is crying of insufficiency over family meal-table as a result of meager labour pay or salary.

However, the fundamental question coming to mind also borders on where on this earth have both water and power – primary essentials to ordinary people – ever had been increased to the tunes the ECG and GWCL fancying themselves with? It is unprecedented and or maybe, one of the mysteries’ ‘firsts’ being chalked in Ghana today.

The paper interestingly noted that whilst the ECG and GWCL pressing home their demand last week, even till we discuss this, almost all the traffic lights in town, some on very major and important road intercessions were faulty and off, causing vehicular traffic chaos, commotions, accidents, injuries and in few cases, deaths. So also are domestic users’ lights off, leaving the major part of the country in total darkness, some for days. So is water too.

We think that playing the water and power mind game with the people through the demand of such exorbitant increments in tariffs isn’t only a blackmail, but also cruel.

At least, the people need to be shown a good cause of the demand. Because, until today, although, Ghanaians pay heavily for streetlight anytime they pay for utility, streetlights are not working, exposing the payers to robberies and other social crimes and murder. So, maybe, if the kitchen feels too hot for those handling the ECG and GWCL, why don’t they bow out for more efficient, competent and resolved replacement?

Source: The Anchor 

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