General News of Tuesday, 5 July 2016
Energy expert Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby has dismissed new subsidies announced by government saying the effect on consumers will be negligible.
The former CEO of the power generator, Volta River Authority (VRA), suggested that what consumers need is not subsidies but a reduction in the taxes imposed by government.
Government was happy to announce Monday that it has reduced the cost of power by absorbing 33pesewas per unit for the first 50units of power consumed.
The relief, in real terms, means electricity consumers consuming below 50 units who are described as poor, will get 1.65cedi reduction in the cost of power.
But Dr. Wereko-Brobby is treating government’s offer with scorn. He explained on the Joy FM Super Morning Show Tuesday that it will amount to “absolutely nothing” because most Ghanaians consumer beyond 50units.
The target of the subsidy, the poor also described as ‘lifeline consumers’ are likely to miss out on the subsidies, he indicated.
According to Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, the lifeline consumers do not have separate meters to dictate how much power they use; they share the same meter with other tenants, pushing up the total consumption beyond 50 units, he noted.
In effect, this subsidy is “much ado about nothing”.
Examining the factors that determine the cost of power, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby indicated that a rural electrification levy and street lighting levy were each increased from 1% to 5% last year.
“This is a huge jump”, he said. The increase in levies therefore cancel out any negligible benefit that the subsidies are intended to provide.
We are actually being charged more than before, he stressed.
According to him, Ghanaians must treat government’s announcement “with a pinch of salt”.