Gov’t to absorb electricity bills of vulnerable, 50% subsidy for others – Akufo-Addo
In its bid to cushion citizens within the period of the ravaging coronavirus, the government has announced an electricity relief package for Ghanaians.
It includes subsidies for businesses and a free electricity for those who consume below 50 kilowatts.
President Akufo-Addo, in his sixth COVID-19 address on Thursday night, indicated that “the government will fully absorb electricity bills for the poorest of the poor.”
He explained that “for all lifeline consumers, that is free electricity for persons who consume zero to 50 kilowatts a month for this period.”
The government also offered a 50% subsidy for those outside the lifeline bracket, including commercial and residential users.
“In addition, for all other consumers, residential and commercial, the government will absorb, again 50% of electricity bill for this period, using March bill as a benchmark.
“For example, if your electricity bill was GHc 100, you will pay only GHc 50, with the government absorbing the remaining GHc 50,” he said as part of the government’s latest social intervention as coronavirus threatens Ghana’s economy.
The government’s intervention comes in the wake of calls made by the Minority in Parliament and other individuals, urging the government to take the power bills of the populace.
The Minority, for instance, urged the government to apply for a tax waiver for health workers and channel the more than GHc 240 million allocated for that purpose to pay the electricity bill of Ghanaians.
The National Democratic Congress MPs made their case when the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta appeared before Parliament seeking approval to spend GHc 1.2 billion on a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP).
The government earlier directed the Ghana Water company to make available to Ghanaians free continuous supply of water for the next three months.
Businesses have been advocating for relief packages that will cushion them against the blows of an economic meltdown as most of them struggle to cope with the effects of a lockdown in the country’s major cities–Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi.
But others also held the view that with oil prices in the international market tumbling as global demand for energy reduces, the government should be able to cut electricity tariffs.