Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko
Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko

Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko has said, Ghanaians will witness a reduction in their electricity tariffs in 2018. And that would be announced during next year’s budget reading in Parliament.

According to him, this had ever been government’s intention to address the issues with power supply, before even tackling its cost.

“Our next mandate is to reduce the prices which take several forms,” The Minister said.

Adding that, Ghanaians were expecting reduction in their electricity tariffs when Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta presented the 2017 budget, due to the promises by the then candidate Nana Akufo-Addo during the heat of the 2016 electioneering campaign. but did not materialised.

According to him, the NPP government abolished the excise duty on petroleum and a reduction of special petroleum tax rate from 17.5 percent to 15% in just five months in office, but that has yet to affect the prices of electricity.

Ghana’s electricity tariff for commercial users is $0.32 per kilowatt hour while domestic users pay $19.28 cents for the same consumption.

But neighbouring Ivory Coast charges $0.13 cents for commercial users per kilowatt hour and $9 cents per kilowatt hour domestic users.This price disparity he elaborated, is due to the fact that they produces cheaper power than Ghana.

Government is likely to reduce tariffs by next year. “So we have to find a way to reducing the cost of production,”

There has been a recent petroleum price hikes in the country getting many commercial drivers and car owners very angry. Meanwhile, government says it can’t be blamed for that.

On his part as the Deputy Minister of Energy, Dr. Amin Adam, insisted that the hikes are attributable to market and external forces which are beyond the control of government.

The price of fuel is said to be at an all-year high in September with Diesel selling at GH¢4.29 per litre, and Petrol selling at GH¢ 4.23.

In July, diesel was sold at about GH¢ 3.77 per litre, while petrol was sold at GH¢ 3.76.

Upon all the increases, commercial drivers decided to maintain the prices on transport fares, an idea which was well welcomed by government.

Meanwhile, government is being pressurized to do something to control the hikes in the prices of petroleum products.

Events of the different components of petroleum pricing which include price of crude oil, which is determined by the global market, levies and taxes as well as exchange rate depreciation, the minister said government has played its role in ensuring price reduction but the market forces wouldn’t let it be.

Nonetheless, government in its 2017 budget reduced the special petroleum taxes from 17.5% to 15% and went ahead to scrap the excise duty on petroleum products. Interventions which coupled with a better management of the economy which has kept the cedi fairly stable, thus to have led to the reduction in petroleum prices, he mentioned.

In conclusion, Dr. Amin Adam said, due to the deregulation policy in Ghana, prices had to be adjusted in line with increases in crude oil on the international market.

Meanwhile, government is very concerned about the inundation in fuel prices and may soon implement measures to ease its effect on Ghanaians.

Relatively, the CEO of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Alhassan Tampuli also said, it is too early for people to be asking for the Authority to tinker with the Price Stabilisation Margin levy in the wake of the soaring fuel prices. A gallon of petrol now sells at GHS20.

Explaining, he said L.I. 2186 requires that, the NPA through the Petroleum Pricing Formula sets up a Price Stabilisation Margin levy which “shall be used to manage the impact of prices of international petroleum products on local ex-pump prices”.

“There are some levies that, as soon as prices go up, you have to trigger the Price Stabilisation Margin Levy but, we think that it will be premature at this stage to tinker with the levy. That will be in haste,” he said.

He said the tinkering could only be done if, touch wood, “we suffer some kind of disaster which has a way of affecting our own supply or there is a very sustained rise in fuel prices. Mind you, this is the only window within which we have this increment just 14 days, so really and truly, I think it will be too premature for us to amend laws because of a temporary situation”.

“Those who are insisting that we should begin to tinker with the Price Stabilisation Margin may have a reason, but we say that, it is not time yet,” he emphasized.

By:Sammy Adjei/Newsghana.com.gh

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