THE MINISTRY of Energy has reacted to some claims by the Minority in Parliament at a recent press briefing addressed by the spokesperson on energy, Mr Adam Mutawakilu.
In a statement signed by Nana Damoah, head, communications at the Ministry and copied to the DAILY HERITAGE, the ministry rubbished claims by the Minority that government had not made any proposal to the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) for a reduction in electricity tariffs, contrary to what was stated in the 2018 budget.
Below is the full statement:
Our attention has been drawn to news reports on some claims made by the Minority in Parliament through their spokesperson on energy, Mr Adam Mutawakilu.
We are of the understanding that the Minority is making three basic claims, that:
- The Ministry and for that matter Government, has not made any proposal to the PURC for a reduction in the electricity tariffs, contrary to what was stated in the 2018 budget;
- The PURC is contemplating a major increase in electricity tariffs; and
- The Ministry and Government are meddling in the affairs of the PURC contrary to law.
We wish to respond as follows:
- The Minority and Mr Mutawakilu are obviously peddling an untruth in this matter. If indeed they had checked, they would have been informed that the Ministry in November 2017 submitted proposal to PURC. Indeed we will want the media to also follow up and verify whether this claim of the Minority are true or otherwise. If indeed the Minority and Mr Mutawakilu did any checks, then they were not diligent in their work at all. As a Minority, they have a myriad of means available to them to get information when needed. Mr Mutawakilu could have checked personally at either PURC or the Ministry if he had been minded to do so. We however wish to underline the fact that this allegation is false and that the Minority and Mr Mutawakilu are either being dishonest in this matter or were not diligent at all in their search for information.
- The PURC has not communicated its intention to increase tariff. A major review of tariffs does not necessarily mean an increase as misunderstood by the Minority. In any case, our understanding of the factors that determine tariffs for electricity point to a reduction.
- We also consider this charge of meddling in the affairs of PURC as shocking. The Minority and Mr Mutawakilu are aware or should be aware of section 3(b) of the PURC Act 1997, Act 538, which states that one function of the body is to “examine and approve rates chargeable for the provision of utility services”.
In this light and in compliance with the law, the Ministry has, on behalf of Government, submitted a proposal for the consideration and examination of the PURC. How does that amount to meddling in the affairs of PURC? We are also minded of section 18(4) of the same Act which states that, “the commission shall before approving any rates provide as far as practicable the public utility and consumers affected by the rates a reasonable opportunity of being heard and shall take into account any representation made before it” and as such have left the PURC to conduct their affairs in the manner they deem fit without any pressure from the Ministry. So again we ask how does this amount to meddling in the affairs of the PURC?
On this note, the Ministry of Energy wishes to assure the general public that it is continuing to work hard in the interest of Ghanaians. It is mindful of the promises it has made and will redeem them in due time and also within the laws as it exists today.