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Fri, Dec

Good news from ‘Adwuma’ budget GOV’T REDUCES ELECTRICITY TARIFFS BY 13%

Business & Economy

The Minister of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has suggested a 13 percent reduction in electricity tariff for residential consumers of electricity.

The Minister of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has suggested a 13 percent reduction in electricity tariff for residential consumers of electricity.

 

During the presentation of the 2018 budget in Parliament yesterday, he also mentioned that non-residential consumers of electricity would enjoy a 13 per cent drop in tariffs as well.

“Mr Speaker, during the 2016 election campaign, H.E. the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, promised Ghanaians that with prudent management of the economy, the NPP government would ensure that electricity tariffs are reduced.

In fulfillment of this promise, government has reviewed the tariff setting methodology and cost structure of power production. This review has resulted in recommendations that will be made to the PURC for consideration,” the Finance Minister said.

The Finance Minister recalled the hardship Ghanaians endured during the height of the power crisis between 2012 and 2016 as a result of high electricity tariffs.

“We have all too soon forgotten how the menace of dumsor from 2012- 2016 crippled the economy. It contributed to the lowest growth rate recorded in the past decade, the loss of jobs, reduced economic output and the loss of consumer and investor confidence in the economy. Dumsor was also compounded by high electricity tariffs, increasing the cost of doing business in the country,” he lamented.

In order to ensure that Ghanaians do not return to the era of ‘dumsor’, the Finance Minister stated that government has amended the cost structure for power production.

In addition, Mr Ofori-Atta specified that recommendations are being made to the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission in that regard adding that the move would bring relief to business and domestic consumers.

“In 2018, efforts will be geared towards keeping the lights on at affordable rates to consumers, particularly industries and small business through reform and policy interventions over a two-year period. The electricity tariff structure will be realigned with government’s developmental goals of industrial transformation growth and job creation,” the Finance Minister explained.

Other categories to see drops in tariffs are special load tariff (low voltage) 13%, special load tariff (medium voltage) 11%, special load tariff (high voltage) 14% and high voltage mines 21%.

On other policy initiatives in the energy sector, the Finance Minister disclosed that in the coming year, communities yet to join the national grid would be connected to add up to targeted amount for the Rural Electrification Programme.

“Under the Rural Electrification Programme, 289 out of a targeted 2,185 communities were connected to the national grid with other projects at various stages of completion. In 2018, a total of 1,796 communities will be connected to the national grid,” Mr Ofori-Atta stated.

This, he added, would enable communities to join the national grid because of the increased energy generation capacity of the nation.

“The country’s installed generation capacity was increased from 4,132 MW in 2016 to 4,577MW in 2017. In 2018, Government will continue to increase the installed generation capacity by about 487MW (Cenpower; 340MW, Early Power Phase 1; 147MW) to meet the growing demand of electricity,” he noted.

In addition, Mr Ofori-Atta mentioned that the Energy Ministry would embark on an MDA Solar Rooftop Programme dubbed ‘Government Goes Solar’ that would aid government to reduce its expenditure on utilities.

 “This is in line with the Ministry’s goal of increasing the penetration of renewable energy in the energy mix and the promotion of distributed solar power for government and public buildings,” he said.

He continued that in line with the Ministry’s effort to also pursue an Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity Building Programme in 2018, “a Technical and Vocational Education and Training in oil and gas and renewable energy will be launched with the objective of training and developing technical capacities required in the Oil and Gas industry. In addition, a local content legislation for the downstream petroleum industry and procurement guidelines for the upstream sector will be developed.”

With regards to creating employment, Mr Ofori Atta revealed that the new government special initiative programme, ‘Nation Builders Corps,’ will employ 100,000 graduates in 2018.

According to the minister, these graduates will be posted to the various districts across the country.

He added that on the average, under the programme, every district should be able to provide jobs for 462 graduates.

Mr Ofori Atta further stated that the Nation Builders Corps would be housed under the office of the President as special initiative, stressing that unemployment is a national security threat and there was the need to combat it head-on.

Again, as a matter of easing the hardships on parents and students alike, the Finance Minister said government had restored the teacher training allowances to cover 49,000 trainees from 41 public colleges of education for the 2017/2018 academic year.

He said a projected 52,000 trainees will benefit from the teacher training allowance in the 2017/2018 academic year.

The minister also touched on agriculture mechanization. He disclosed that 220 tractors and accessories comprising 141 maize shellers, and 77 multi-crop threshers were distributed to farmers and service providers.

He stressed that in 2018 the ministry of agriculture would distribute 200 tractors and matching implements, 1,000 power tillers and walking tractors, 30 tractor mounted rippers, 10 tractor drawn rear blades.

The rest include 10 tractor mounted slasher, 60 boom and orchard sprayers, 4,000 motorized sprayers, 60 mechanical and pneumatic planters, 50 cereal harvesters, 200 multi-crop threshers, 400 irrigation kits (engine and solar powered sprinklers sets), and 100 green house technology for horticulture production.

According to the finance Minister, 191 projects have been appraised and selected for implementation under the One District One Factory policy.

104 of these companies will be operating in the Agribusiness sector; 20 in the Meat and Poultry sector; 40 in the Construction and Building Materials sub-sector; and the remaining 27 are businesses in the Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals sectors.

In terms of regional breakdown of the companies, the Ashanti region has 35, Brong Ahafo 19, Central                       21, Eastern 34, Greater Accra 28, Northern 17 and Upper East 4.

The rest are Upper West 5, Western 10 and Volta 18.

“In 2018, government will allocate a minimum of GH¢2 million to each district for the implementation of the 1D1F. I am by this challenging the local authorities in the various districts, together with the private sector to take full advantage of these funds,” he added.

 

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