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Parliament to summon PURC and ECG over utility tariff increments



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Parliament has indicated that the management of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) will appear before the house to answer questions on why electricity tariffs should be increased.

According to the Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, Samuel Atta Akyea, PURC and ECG must explain the rationale behind the recent increment.

On Monday, January 16, 2023, the PURC increased electricity and water tariffs by 29.96% and 8.3% respectively.

The commission said the new tariffs, which are for the first quarter of the year will take effect from February 1, 2023.

The PURC acknowledged the prevailing economic hardship in the country but said that the increments became necessary for the sustainability of the water and electricity companies and uninterrupted service provision.

But Samuel Atta Akyea said PURC will be summoned to explain to Parliament why it increased tariffs.

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Samuel Atta Akyea

Speaking to Accra-based Citi FM, he said “They [PURC and ECG] should be able to explain to us why they think despite these difficulties, there should be an increase. I have not seen any rationalization for this increase, so I want to keep quiet until we as a committee find out from them what really is going on. As members of the committee, we do not have the underpinnings of this arrangement. So we need to call them, so we sit and engage them.”

“Some people are enjoying electricity at the expense of others that is why their books do not look good. We need to look at some of these things because in trying to come out of the doldrums, you don’t squeeze people too much. Rather, you do not sit down for people to enjoy free electricity. Go ahead and fix it.”

In December 2022, the PURC started processes to adjust tariffs to reflect changes in macroeconomic variables such as inflation and exchange rate.

Dr. Eric Obutey, Head of Research and Cooperate Affairs at the PURC, said the cedi’s rate against the dollar and inflation are some of the factors we try to correct using the quarterly tariff adjustments. We should be expecting an announcement before the close of 2022 because it is supposed to take effect from January 1, 2023.

In August last year, the regulatory authority announced a 27.15% increase in tariff for electricity and 21.55% for water.

The increment took effect on September 1, 2022.

PURC, however, called on the public to support utility companies to recoup revenues by reporting illegal connections.

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General News

Pastor closes church after winning bet




Pastor closes church after winning bet

After winning 100 million Ugandan Shillings from sports betting, a pastor in a local church in Uganda abandoned his church members by closing the church.

Explaining his motivation, the overjoyed pastor revealed that the lottery was a gift from God and a quick way to get him out of poverty, which he had been experiencing.

He also revealed that he established the church as a source of income rather than through anointing.

“I must admit I opened this church due to greed but not anointing. I saw how several pastors make money by having large crowds and making false prophecies to attract more,” he opened up.

He stated that running a church without a calling became extremely difficult, resulting in sleepless nights. Burdened with guilt, the pastor chose to close it and seek other sources of income.

“As time went on, I realized this was not right; I started having sleepless nights and I would always have weird dreams.

“Before I opened this church, everything was normal on my side. Even without money, I did not have any strange dreams. So I decided to abolish this and look for other ways of making money” he said.

The pastor stated that he tried his luck at gambling, putting a whopping Ush1 million on the line.

“I had to pay for these games and surprisingly it took me about a month to receive them. They told me they had issues with their system and the process of securing games takes time. I almost gave up and called them scammers but they contacted me with the details and wow! I went full swing and got odd of 700,” he said.

He stopped going to church after discovering that he made far more money gambling than he had ever made operating a church in his entire life.

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General News

The Energy Ministry has not been disconnected from the power grid – ECG




The Energy Ministry has not been disconnected from the power grid - ECG

The Managing Director of Ghana’s Electricity Company, Samuel Dubik Mahama, has denied reports that the Ministry of Energy had been disconnected from the national grid due to unpaid bills for power supplied.

Mr Mahama hinted that reports of the Ministry’s disconnection are just a few of the innuendos thrown into the media sphere in an attempt to divert attention away from the power distribution company’s revenue mobilisation drive.

Mr Mahama revealed on Citi TV’s Point of View that government establishments owe 15% of the GH5.7 billion he hopes to recover within a month.

He emphatically disclosed that “The Ministry of Energy doesn’t owe us and the Ministry is exclusively on prepaid meters and that is the case with most of the MMDAs and state-owned enterprises.”

“We are not going to favour anybody and our main debtors are industry, they are not doing what they are supposed to do, and they are pretending not to know that they owe us,” Mr Mahama further lamented.

The power distribution company is currently on the ground, attempting to recover debts owed to it in order to improve its operations.

Mr Mahama also stated that the company is putting in place the necessary processes to digitalize power vending in order to increase revenue inflows and eliminate long lines at vending points.

“Hopefully, in the next month or two and with my digital process, queues will be a thing of the past because very soon consumers will be able to purchase ECG credit with their mobile devices with NFC connection.

“Very soon there will be no queues, and we are going to be customer-driven and even now postpaid customers are able to sit in the comfort of their homes to pay their electricity bill.”


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Pantang Hospital employees put their lives in danger by living in a dilapidated structure




Pantang Hospital employees put their lives in danger by living in a dilapidated structure

Several squatters and Pantang hospital employees are forced to occupy unfinished and dilapidated buildings at the risk of their lives.

The Ministry of Health declared the structures unsafe following a structural integrity test in 2021.

The structure was originally built to house hospital staff, but nursing students and other community members have turned the dilapidated and worn-out structure into their home, despite hospital management’s warnings to vacate the building.

A visit to Pantang on March 16, 2023, revealed that the structure was still in use despite its deplorable condition.

Pantang Hospital employees put their lives in danger by living in a dilapidated structure

There were various types of cracks and leaks, exposed and rusted iron rods, and exposed wires.

All of the stairs connecting the ground floor to the other floors were completely destroyed. One of the stairs in the Okonkwo Building was made of rotten wood, and the structure was crooked, but the building’s occupants continued to use it unconcerned.

Delali Tomegah, an environmental officer with the Pantang hospital, said he was given the accommodation by the hospital when asked if he came to live in the building of his own free will.

Pantang Hospital employees put their lives in danger by living in a dilapidated structure

“The walling of the hospital affected my accommodation, so the hospital authorities asked me to move into the building.”

He has lived in the building for two years and believes the structure is sound.

“The structure is very strong, but from the outside, it appears weak. It only appears to be old; with a little TLC, it will look brand new.”

A resident – name withheld – stated that, while she is terrified that the building will collapse, she has no choice.

“I am scared the building may collapse on us one day, but we have nowhere to go”.

Doris Attiogbe, a mother of two, told Citi News about her dangerous living conditions.

“The building soaks the water anytime it rains, I don’t know about the other tenants though. The cement component along the stairs has recently begun to fall off.”

She added that after 5 years in the building and numerous evacuation notices, she is now ready to leave.

Pantang Hospital employees put their lives in danger by living in a dilapidated structure

Dr Frank Baning, the hospital’s Medical Director, denied that the hospital’s management had authorised their stay.

“I can tell you for a fact that none of them, at least not that I am aware of, will be able to show you that they were given a letter to go and live in such a structure, and I have been at the helm of affairs since 2016.”

He also stated that the hospital is situated on an earthquake fault line in Ghana.

“I am the one pushing for it to be demolished because I’m afraid that if you are not careful, one of these days it will collapse on staff and that’s been one of my fears. You know we fall within the fault lines. Anytime there is one of those earth tremors, we at the Pantang Hospital usually feel it here, so you can just imagine if the scale goes up a little what will happen to that building. So those are some of the fears, and we won’t ask staff to live in a place like that.”

Dr Baning went on to say that the fact that residents live in the building rent-free indicates that their stay was not approved by hospital management.

Pantang Hospital employees put their lives in danger by living in a dilapidated structure

He added that they were unable to evict them as planned because the occupants had filed an appeal with the Ministry of Health.

“They petitioned my bosses, that is the mental health authority and the Ministry [of Health] so as far as I’m concerned, it’s been taken up by a higher institution than Pantang hospital and [it is] being dealt with. So I would say the best people to talk to would be the Ministry because they went to petition them”.

“The minister delegated the Deputy Minister of health to come here and resolve the issue, they all saw it and said no it must come down. The municipal assembly put together a team made of engineers and security people to come and take a look and the conclusion is that it should be pulled down.”


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