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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has tasked the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to ensure that the interest of the consumer is protected at all times.
The President was concerned that the PURC was fast becoming an entity whose preoccupation has been to adjust tariffs upwards.
“It would appear that the other functions, primarily to do with the protection of the interests of the consumer and the delivery of quality service by utility providers have been largely shirked by the PURC. This perception can no longer be allowed to fester. It must change,” he noted.
The President made these remarks at the swearing-in of two members of the PURC Board at the Jubilee House on Wednesday.
The President used the occasion to applaud the utilities regulator for bringing relief to Ghanaian electricity consumers and industry with the reduction of electricity tariffs, which took effect on April 1, 2018.
He noted it was heartening that the PURC had taken forward the proposal by government for a review of the tariff setting methodology and cost structure of the country’s energy production.
“Happily, the PURC has taken forward the proposal of government to make it effective. Residential customers, as from April 1, are now enjoying a 17.5 per cent reduction; non-residential customers have seen their electricity bills cut by 30 per cent; the mines are now entitled to a 10 per cent reduction whilst special load tariff customers are also enjoying a 25 per cent reduction,” he said.
The two new board members are Mrs Dora Oppong and Dr Adu Gyamfi.
President Akufo-Addo noted that since its inception had contributed positively to the promotion and sustainability of competition, evident in the introduction of private sector investments in the utilities.
He indicated that as a result of the PURC’s independent and transparent tariff setting process, the country had seen a marked improvement in accessibility to all Ghanaians.
The board has a duty to contribute to the development of a competitive energy sector to drive the industrial and economic development of our country and at the same time ensure that the ordinary Ghanaian has access to efficient, affordable energy, the President added.
In a related development, the President has inaugurated the Board of the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC), with a task to ensure that the country conforms to the rules and regulations governing the world’s trade system.
The President admonished the newly constituted board to work at ensuring that Ghana does not become a dumping place for European goods, but work at strengthening the capacity of Ghanaian producers to satisfy the domestic markets, adding that, “The future growth of our economy is closely linked to the growth of the domestic productive sector.”
The board, chaired by Nana Adu Gyamfi, includes Sophia Korko, Prof Paul Kurkuk, Philip Jude Mensah and Mr Arnold Tetteh Okai.
The President emphasised further that government’s vision of wanting Ghana’s relations with other nations within and outside the continent to be characterised by trade and investment co-operation and not aid.
“I believe that is the way to develop healthy relations and put Ghanaian products at the high end of the value chain on the global market, and thereby create jobs for the teeming youth,” he started.
He noted that with Africa’s population set to reach two billion in 20 years, an African common market presented “an immense opportunity to bring prosperity to our continent through hard work, creativity and enterprise”.
“It is vital that the CFTA works,” he said, stressing that “and under my leadership, Ghana would commit to the success of the CFTA…to set the stage for the accelerated development of our country, the ECOWAS region and the entire continent.”
Nana Adu Gyamfi, on behalf of the board, expressed gratitude to the President for the trust and faith bestowed upon them, and assured that they would be guided by the ideals and policies that led to the establishment of the commission.
He pledged that the board would be committed to honesty, fairness, independence and timeliness in the performance of its obligations, and called on stakeholders and captains of industries to play their roles to make government’s vision a reality.
GITC is also required under the law to monitor and advise the Minister of Trade and Industry on Ghana’s compliance with its bilateral and multilateral treaty obligations in the area of international trade, conduct studies and publish reports on the competitiveness of Ghana’s tariff structure and the impact of the tariff structure on domestic industry, market access opportunities and challenges in relation to exports from Ghana.
Source: Daniel Nonor || The Finder