Tourism minister’s claim there has been no increment in utility tariffs since 2017 false

Tourism Minister, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has said that there has been no increment in utility tariffs since President Akufo-Addo took office in 2017.

Mr. Awal justified the recent announcement of hikes in utility tariffs and said they were necessary to save the energy sector from total collapse.

He was speaking to hoteliers at a stakeholder engagement forum in Accra on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, to assuage their opposition to the announced tariff increment which will be effective on September 1.

His claim can be found between 2:04:12 to 2:49 minutes of the News Break on TV3.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified the Tourism Minister’s claim and presents the facts below.

Claim: “If you remember, we have not increased tariffs.  Since President Akufo-Addo’s time, in 2017, we have not increased tariffs, it’s just now that we are facing economic challenges and we are working to restore economic stability while we do that, it’s better than dumsor (power outage). Let’s not forget what happened [dumsor] before we came to power.”

Verdict: False

Explanation: In May 2023, the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC), the body that regulates tariffs in Ghana, announced an 18.36% increase in tariffs for both electricity and natural gas across all consumer groups. This took effect from June 2023.

The PURC explained that the decision was taken to balance the prevention of extended power outages and their adverse implications on jobs and livelihoods while minimizing the impact of rate increases on consumers.

Prior to the June 2023 adjustment in tariffs, the PURC had announced a 29.96 percent increase in electricity tariffs and 8.3 percent in water tariffs in January 2023. This took effect from February 2023.

“The Commission, therefore, decided to increase the average end-user tariff for electricity by 29.96% across the board for all consumer groups (Table i). The average end-user tariff for water has also been increased by 8.3% (Table 2). The Commission, however, approved varying rate adjustments including some reductions for selected industrial and commercial consumers as part of the ongoing restructuring of the existing water rate structure,” the PURC explained.

Five months earlier on August 15, 2022, the PURC again announced a 27.15% increase in electricity and a 21.55% increase in water tariffs.

Before the August 2022 upward adjustment, the body also announced a tariff increment in September 2019, just a year before the first 4 years of President Akufo-Addo came to an end.

“Using available macroeconomic variables, generation mix, and fuel prices, the Commission’s analysis, indicated a marginal upward adjustment in tariffs, with the Commission approving a 5.94% increase in electricity tariffs and 2.22% increase in water tariffs across all customer categories effective October 01, 2019,” the announcement read.

The extent of the increment in the tariffs by the PURC in 2019 was however lower than proposals made by the utility agencies like Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Ghana Grid Company Ltd (GRIDCo)

Prior to the announcement of increment in 2019, there had been a three-year freeze on increments in tariffs.

But the 2019 tarrif increment and the subsequent ones in 2022 and 2023 make the Tourism Minister’s claim false.

This is not the first time that a member of the government has made this claim.
A Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Education, Yaw Opoku Mensah, has said it was historic that the government did not increase utility tariffs until September 2022.

Following from the above, it is not true that there has been no increment in utility tariffs since President Akufo-Addo took office in 2017.

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Here’s how electricity tariffs have changed in the last 10 years

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