Government Is A Listening One- Minister

Dr Mushiebu Mohammed Alfa, Deputy Upper West Regional Minister on Wednesday told unionised labour that the Executive is a listening entity and in due course workers would get the necessary feedback.

He asked public sector workers in Wa who demonstrated against recent high tariffs on utilities and energy sector levy to return to work and continue with the dialoguing processes with government for amicable resolution of their differences.

“We are a listening government and we have listened and in due course, you will hear from government”, Dr Alfa told the protesters who marched through some principal streets in Wa to press home for the reduction of water and electricity tariffs and the removal of energy sector levy.

In December, 2015 the PURC and government announced steep increases in utility tariffs of 59.2 per cent for electricity and 67.2 per cent for water.

The Energy Sector Levies Act was also introduced, which imposed additional 10 per cent increases in electricity tariffs to 69.2 per cent while government raised public sector wages by 10 per cent with inflation standing at almost 17 per cent.

The demonstrators, who carried some placards some of which read: “10 per cent salary increase cannot march utility tariffs”, “Kill energy sector levy act”, “Drop the killer tax”, said they were frustrated and could not pay their children’s school fees, calling the government a “dead goat government”.

The 17 unionised labour activists later converged at the forecourt of the Regional Coordinating Council, where Mr George Kofi Mude, TUC Regional Secretary, read their petition and presented it to Dr Alfa.

The workers asked government to reduce the rate of utility tariff, whilst the lifeline consumption for water should remain at 0 to 20 cubic meters.

The workers also asked for the withdrawal of the Energy Sector Levies Act (Act 899, 2015), which has occasioned very steep increases in petroleum prices at a time when crude oil prices are tumbling on the international market and exchange rate of the Ghana Cedi appears stable.

The petitioners warned that any attempt to fix all the economic challenges within a couple of months or even within a year could result in social instability with implications for both the economy and the politics.