NDC POWER-PRICE PROPAGANDA SHOWS NPP HAS KEPT FAITH WITH GHANAIANS, SAYS BAWUMIA Featured

By NANA YAW DWAMENA October 03, 2019 1456 169 comments

Vice-President Mahamdu Bawumia says the Akufo-Addo government has kept faith with Ghanaians when it comes electricity tariffs, contrary to claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress that the government has burdened Ghanaians with unbearable power price increases.

 

The NDC’s claim follows the announcement of a 5.6 per cent increase in electricity tariffs by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) this week.

At the launch of four Youth Employment Agency initiatives yesterday, Dr Bawumia insisted that the records do not support the NDC’s claims. He therefore urged Ghanaians to ignore “the NDC propaganda on electricity tariffs”.

The Vice-President said that for the first time in the history of the country, the Akufo-Addo government has reduced tariffs cumulatively since it assumed office on January 7 2017.

“You would have heard that the PURC has increased electricity tariffs by 5.6 per cent. It is very, very important for us to have some perspective on this, because electricity has a bearing on the cost of doing business and you have to be having your eye on it so that we don’t overburden businesses,” he said.

Comparative analysis

Giving a detailed comparative analysis, Dr Bawumia said before the Akufo-Addo government came into office, the average increase in electricity tariffs was 89 per cent in 2010 and 10 per cent in 2011.

With a 78 per cent rise in 2013, 28.3 per cent in 2014 and 59.2 per cent in 2016, the cumulative increase in electricity tariff was 166 per cent under the NDC in the past four years, he dad.

“It is against that background that we said, ‘This is not good for job creation.’ If you want to create jobs you have to reduce the burden of electricity tariffs on our people. And this is why when we came in ‒ and it had never been done before ‒ we reduced electricity prices for businesses by 30 per cent and for households by 17.5 per cent, average of around 22 per cent in 2018,” the Vice-President said.

He continued, “Notwithstanding that, earlier this year in July there was an increase in electricity prices of 11 per cent and yesterday of 5.6 per cent. When you take the total cumulative increase on average, between 2017 and today, you have a cumulative decrease of about 5 per cent.”

Dr Bawumia said the NDC, in its last four years in office, increased tariffs by 166 per cent. “So, it is still ‘boot for charley wote’ when you come to electricity tariffs,” he said.

Reforms

The Vice-President stressed that the NPP government has undertaken a number of far-reaching reforms, and either reduced or abolished a large number of taxes to ease further the cost and difficulty of doing business. Some of these measures include automation of the construction permit system, automation of applications for business operating permits, various reforms at the Registrar General’s Department and paperless ports systems, among others.

He outlined further the various direct tax and import duty reductions so far implemented by the government.

He said in 2017, the government  reduced or abolished 17 nuisance taxes, including abolishing excise duty on petroleum, reducing special petroleum tax rate from 17.5 per cent  to 15 per cent, abolishing the 1 per cent Special Import Levy, abolishing 17.5 per cent VAT/National Health Insurance Levy on domestic airline tickets, among others.

“In addition to these, import duties were reduced by about 50 per cent in April 2019. Today, Ghana is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and thanks to initiatives like 1D1F and Planting for Food and Jobs, we have shifted from a focus on taxation to a focus on production,” he declared.

Job creation

Dr Bawumia said 350,000 Ghanaians, in total, have been employed in the public sector in just two years.

“The available data shows that recruitment and financial clearances for the security services, nurses, teachers, forestry and NaBCo and so on, in the last two years alone, we’ve employed 350,000 people in the public sector.”

The Youth Employment Agency (YEA) launched four initiatives yesterday, all aimed at job creation. They are the YEA Job Centre, Artisan Directory, Regional Flagship Project and the Work Abroad Programme.

Dr Bawumia said the Akufo-Addo government is working to leave a legacy of a knowledge-based, capable and resilient economy which can hold its own in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The government is aware of the reality that, from 2020, when the first batch of Free SHS students graduate, our universities and other tertiary institutions will be confronted with the challenge of higher numbers of students seeking admission.

“We also recognise that not all of them will seek further education. Some will seek to enter the world of work,” he said.

In this respect, creating gainful and non-exploitative employment for young people is crucial to Ghana’s development, he said.

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