Popular Ghanaian movie actor, Prince David Osei has expressed disgust at the deceit of the Akufo Addo administration which claimed it was providing free electricity and water to consumers as a means to alleviate their distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government, through the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has since announced that will squeeze back payment from the same consumers through newly introduced taxes.
“If we campaigned #4More4Nana to do more on the premise of free water & electricity during the pandemic and we turn around to tax the people, then it makes some of us who championed the course look mindless,” David Osei lamented.
In sync with David Osei’s regret, popular media personality, Gordon Asare-Bediako said: “So did people really think President Akufo Addo was going to sell the durable cooking utensils or the Kaba and slit and duku (local textile) of Mama Rebecca to offset the cost of the freebies. Ei saa? Boi.”
Last year, during the outbreak of CCOVID-19 and also being an election year, President Akufo Addo promised some six month “free” water and electricity to a cross-section of consumers to allegedly ease their distress during the pandemic.
However, it is turning out to have been a vote-buying stunt, as the Information Minister is saying the government cannot foot the bill for the free utilities.
“It was free to the people of Ghana at the time. 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,” Mr. Nkrumah told PM Express in what has sparked extreme anger among Ghanaians.
In the 2021 budget, the Akufo Addo administration sneaked in some hefty taxes, some of which the Information Minister claims would be used to defray the “free” utility supply.
Angry complaints from Ghanaians, particularly on social media show that they consider the Akufo Addo administration to have insensitively scammed them for votes in 2020.
President Akufo-Addo in April 2020, announced a free electricity and water supply to lifeline consumers amidst media stunts of the gesture by the Information Ministry.
Again, Akufo-Addo in his 21st address to the nation a few weeks ago, President Akufo Addo repeated the promise, saying the free utilities will extend for the next three months this year (2021).
He said: “With the continuing difficulties occasioned by the pandemic, I want to state that government intends to continue to support the most vulnerable in our society. 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.”
However, the Information Minister has quickly dismissed the President’s promise as a sham, saying there was no way the government can absorb the GHC 19 billion bill required without imposing extra taxes on Ghanaians to defray the so-called free utilities.
“But that 19 billion cedis has to be paid for at some point, the liabilities we have incurred have to be paid for,” Oppong Nkrumah stated.
“So I am going back to Ofoasi to explain to my people why we need to ensure that we all pay that 1% extra so that we can continue to provide those services for the people of Ghana to protect lives and livelihoods,” he said.