The Chief Executive Officer of Dalex Finance, Ken Thompson, says government’s social intervention programmes aimed at bringing some relief to Ghanaians in the fight against COVID-19 would have made much impact if it was targeted at the poor.
According to him, some Ghanaians do not need their utility bills to be subsidized since they’re better off economically.
President Akufo-Addo as part of measures aimed at reducing the financial burden on Ghanaians during the COVID-19 period, introduced a 100 percent cut in electcity bills for lifeline consumers, with a 50% reduction for all other consumers for three months.
He has also instituted free water for all for three months.
While lauding government for the initiative which will cost GHS1 billion for the three months, Mr. Thompson said targeting the poor would have lessened government’s financial burden.
“If you have a systemm where you don’t have the data to identify who the poorest are, then there are other means that you can use. But we are in a situation where some people can afford more than the others. For example, I have my water running through the taps and I pay a certain amount of money, but for the people in the informal sector, most of them buy water on a daily bases and a bucket of water cost over 2 cedis. They pay more for their water more than I do. Why should mine be subsidised? Why should I get any benefits? If there are any benefits, it should have been given to the most vulnerable in society and I think that targeting should have been done better,” he said.
He further noted that there is the need to educate those in the informal sector to understand the impact of the virus so they can act more responsibly in protecting themselves and others.
“We also need to provide educational facilities, we need to educate them. I just get fed up when people talk about Ghanaians doing the wrong things. They do the wrong things because they don’t know so educate them,” he added.
Electricity subsidy must be will endanger power sector sustainability – ACEP
Earlier this month, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, (ACEP), warned that government’s introduction of a complete waiver of the electricity bill of lifeline consumers of electricity and 50 percent reduction for all other consumers using March 2020 bill as the benchmark, will “endanger the sustainability of the power sector now and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to them, though the gesture by government is benign, not everybody needs the subvention.
Executive Director, Benjamin Boakye, in a statement issued on the 14th of April, 2020, said, “this policy is well intentioned to support Ghanaians, particularly the poor and vulnerable, who are faced with significant socioeconomic risks, resulting in part, from their reliance on daily wages and loss of economic livelihood. ACEP is of the considered view that not everybody captured in the subsidy needs it. Rather, the measure further endangers the sustainability of the power sector now and in post COVID-19.”