GHANAIANS TO PAY FOR COVID-19 ‘FREE WATER, ELECTRICITY’ …
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has indicated that Ghanaians will have to pay for the free provision of water and electricity introduced by the government in 2020 as part of measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
President Akufo-Addo in April 2020, announced a free utility package for the vulnerable in the country to lessen the virus’ negative impact following a lockdown in Accra and Kumasi.
Again, Akufo-Addo in his 21st address to the nation 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.”
But speaking on JoyNews, Mr Nkrumah said “It was free to the people of Ghana at the time.”
According to him, the decision last year was because the pandemic was a looming crisis and the government had to improvise for the country’s well-being.
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“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.”
The Ofoase-Ayirebi MP disclosed that, Ghana has spent about ¢19 billion on Covid-19 related issues and that includes the relief package on the utilities.
“But that 19 billion cedis has to be paid for at some point, the liabilities we have incurred has to be paid for,” he said.
“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 added.
This, according to him, will help ameliorate the economy and bridge the gap between the country’s income and expenditure.
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Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the gap has been widened even further by Covid-19 adding that “we are at a point where you have to make a choice.”