The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning-designate, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has promptly released, at least, GH¢1.2 billion as part payment for COVID-19 relief, covering the free electricity and water to Ghanaians since the outbreak of the pandemic.
To keep the lights on during the COVID-19 era till now, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has received over GH¢1billion as part payment for the free power it supplied to the good people of Ghana.
Payment to Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) for providing free water to the general public since the outbreak of COVID-19 is in the region of GH¢180 million.
Information sighted indicates that the total amount budgeted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for the provision of free electricity and water is, at least, GH¢1.8 billion
The Ken Ofori-Atta-led Ministry of Finance (MoF) has made all these expenditures despite a massive drop in revenues, including a significant decline of $1.6 billion in crude oil export receipts on the back of low prices.
Robust reforms rolled out at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), under Ken’s watch, is deemed to have helped the Authority collected GH¢45,338.69 million, indicating that it only missed its before COVID-19 target by over GH¢1.9 billion (GH¢1,915.26 million), despite the ranging effects of COVID-19 on all sectors of the economy.
It is amazing how Ken, as protector of the public purse, kept being resourceful to keep government machinery running, paid teachers who never worked for at least 9 months, and still managed to grow the economy by 0.9% in the midst of the pandemic.
In the 2020 Mid-Year Budget to Parliament, Ken Ofori-Atta announced extension of free water and electricity supplies to consumers. He reminded us at the time that: “It takes a caring government of the people, and with that, I mean, a government of all the people, to offer cost-free water to all across the country.”
Ken again averted our minds to the fact that it takes a caring government to be for the people and for businesses, large and small.
Free water and electricity that was extended to December 2020 was, again, extended for lifeline consumers from January-March 2021, before Ken exited office on January 7, this year.
He hinted in his last budget statement to Parliament that lifeline electricity consumers and households, whose water usage do not exceed five cubic metres per month, will not pay for the utilities for the months of January, February and March 2021.
These well-thought out reliefs to Ghanaians to better weather the storms of COVID-19, Ken reminded the good people of Ghana that they would be reviewed at the end of March, 2021.