Ghanaians To Pay For Covid-19 ‘Free Water’ To Fill Economic Gap – Oppong Nkrumah
Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has stated that Ghanaians will pay for the free provision of water and electricity the government introduced in 2020 after COVID-19 pandemic came into the country.
President Akufo-Addo in April 2020, announced a free utility package for the vulnerable in the country to lessen the virus’ negative impact following a lockdown in Accra and Kumasi to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"Government will, thus, continue to pay the electricity bills for our nation’s one million active lifeline customers for the next three months, i.e. January, February and March," Akufo-Addo said early 2021.
But speaking on Joy News' PM Express on Monday, Mr Nkrumah said, "It was free to the people of Ghana at the time."
According to him, the decision last year was because the pandemic was a looming crisis and the government had to improvise for the country’s well-being.
"When we say free electricity it doesn’t mean that the IPP producer is also going to say because the President has said free electricity I won’t charge for it," he said.
Mr Nkrumah said Ghana has spent about ¢19 billion on Covid-19 related issues and that includes the relief package on the utilities.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the gap has been widened even further by Covid-19 adding that "we are at a point where you have to make a choice."
He noted that there is a need to, "get our people collectively across the device to understand that at some point, we have to get out of this economic one-step-forward half-a step-back, sometimes one step forward, two steps backwards conundrum in which we find ourselves."
"To do that, we cannot consistently borrow our way out of our problems, domestic resource mobilization has to be tweaked and it has to be done in a way that you can raise resources without overburdening the people," he added.
"Everything we consume in this country is paid for. If not, we will arrive at that graph you showed us earlier where the gap keeps widening," the Information Minister stressed.
According to him, the government’s decision to provide the free utilities was a strategic choice made on behalf of Ghanaians.