Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has announced that the Akufo Addo administration will squeeze out some form of payment from Ghanaians for the six-month “free” water and electricity it provided a cross-section of consumers last year, during the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
“It was free to the people of Ghana at the time. When we say free electricity it doesn’t mean that the IPP producer is also going to say because the President has said free electricity I won’t charge for it,” Mr. Nkrumah told PM Express in what has sparked extreme anger among Ghanaians.
In the 2021 budget, the Akufo Addo administration sneaked in some hefty taxes, some of which the Information Minister claims would be used to defray the “free” utility supply.
Angry complaints from Ghanaians, particularly on social media show that they consider the Akufo Addo administration to have insensitively scammed them for votes in 2020.
President Akufo-Addo in April 2020, announced free electricity and water supply to lifeline consumers amidst media stunts of the gesture by the Information Ministry.
Again, Akufo-Addo in his 21st address to the nation a few weeks ago, President Akufo Addo repeated the promise, saying the free utilities will extend for the next three months this year (2021).
He said: “With the continuing difficulties occasioned by the pandemic, I want to state that government intends to continue to support the most vulnerable in our society. Government will, thus, continue to pay the electricity bills for our nation’s one million active lifeline customers for the next three months, i.e. January, February and March.”
However, the Information Minister has quickly dismissed the President’s promise as a sham, saying there was no way the government can absorb the GHC 19 billion bill required without imposing extra taxes on Ghanaians to defray the so-called free utilities.
“But that 19 billion cedis have to be paid for at some point, the liabilities we have incurred has to be paid for,” Oppong Nkrumah stated.
“So I am going back to Ofoasi to explain to my people why we need to ensure that we all pay that 1% extra so that we can continue to provide those services for the people of Ghana to protect lives and livelihoods,” he said.