By Edmund Mingle
|President Mahama explaining issues at the event|
President John Mahama says the provision of the relief package that has resulted in reduction in tariff for electricity consumers, is not a subsidy.
“It is not a subsidy. It is a realignment of the billing system,” he said.
According to him, the realignment has produced tariff reduction relief and also made the bills more transparent by ensuring that consumers get to know what they actually consume.
Addressing a congregation of Muslims after National prayers to mark the Eid-Ul-Fitr celebration at the Black Star Square in Accra, President Mahama was optimistic the relief would help to cushion consumers.
Following recent public outcry over overbilling and abnormal electricity charges, the government directed that the billing system was reviewed to check the irregularities.
In furtherance to that, on July 4, the ECG, after conduction a review and developing new measures, announced a relief package to residential consumers, in which the company described a GHc300million facility provided by the government to make up for ECG’s revenue due to the cut in tariff, as a subsidy.
The news of the said subsidy generated debate among sections of Ghanaians. While some economic analysts feared it would increase the burden on government and defeat efforts in reducing subsidies offered by the government, the some opposition members described the move as a “panicky” measure by the President to secure votes.
But clarifying the issue yesterday, President Mahama believed that people would begin to feel some relief from the power tariff.
Touching on the recent power outages, President Mahama attributed it to power generation problems caused by delays in the crude oil supply from Nigeria which is facing sabotage attacks on its oil installations.
“We are not declaring load shedding and I believe things will normalise,” he said, adding that stringent measures were underway to overcome the challenge.
With regard to the Eid-Ul-Fitr celebration, he congratulated all Muslims for a successful Ramadan, and urged them to continue to pray for the nation and support its development.
He urged them to uphold the peace and love tenets of Islam, saying it was regrettable that extremists and terrorists attempt to destroy the image of the Islamic religion.
He described the activities and ideologies of extremists and
|Sheikh Sharabutu, National Chief Imam leading prayers|
terrorists, who claim to be acting on the instructions of the Quran as “poisonous propaganda that should be prevented from spreading among our Muslim youth.”
“The violence, bombings, killing of innocent women and children, is certainly not Islam,” he said.
He assured the Muslim community of government’s continuous support to develop their localities, adding that more infrastructure projects, were being undertaken in Zongo communities.
He said due to government’s commitment to enhance the education of Muslim youth, several Muslim communities would benefit from the ongoing 200 Community Day Senior High Schools project.
Touching on the impending general election, President Mahama was confident that it would be conducted peacefully, and urged Muslim youths to avoid being used as “thugs” to cause violence.
In addition, he urged Ghanaians to have faith in the integrity of the Electoral Commission, saying “let’s give the Electoral Commission the peace to do its work.”
Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharabutu, National Chief Imam, who led the prayers, also called on all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful and successful general election.
In addition, he advised the youth to be vigilant and avoid be exploited by engaging on violence for the benefit of politicians.
Joining the campaign for clean environment, Sheikh Sharabutu, appealed to the citizenry to adopt good environmental and waste disposal practices.
He commended waste management commended waste management companies for their efforts to keeping the nation clean, and urged the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to enforce their by-laws in sanitation.
“In this vein we shall be support the efforts of the waste management companies, chiefly Zoomlion Ghana that is collaboration with the Office of the Chief Imam to promote environmental cleanliness,” he said in his address read for him.
As part of the session, special prayers were offered for the progress of the nation.