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CPA jabs World Bank for recommending removal of gov’t subsidies
From: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com          Published On: July 3, 2013, 11:21 GMT
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CPA jabs World Bank for recommending removal of gov’t subsidies

Executive Director of the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), Kofi Owusuhene is upset with the World Bank and its affiliate Bretton Woods institutions for their insistence that government removes all social safety nets for the citizenry.

Mr. Owusuhene, popularly known as Kofi Kapito, says he does not understand how, in a modern world, the World Bank would pressure the Ghana government to remove subsidies on utilities and increase tariffs when in their own countries, social interventions are provided for the vulnerable and unemployed.

Kofi Kapito was reacting to a publication in which the World Bank had recommended utility tariff increases to government, as a measure to strengthen the economy.

He was speaking Tuesday July 2, on Radio Gold's Power Drive programme.

He said it was time institutions like the World Bank stopped prescribing "painful pills" as solutions for revenue mobilisation and development efforts.

According to him, recommendations from these institutions should be taken with a pinch of salt since they are themselves, struggling to find solutions to challenges in their own backyard.

"If they are talking about growing our economy in terms of becoming an industrialised nation, how are higher tariffs going to make them?” he asked.

Kofi Kapito believes because utility tariffs are already too high, a further increase would cripple both local and foreign businesses.

A recent World Bank report has suggested government and the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission should increase utility tariffs to reflect the current economic conditions.

But Kapito said government must realise that heeding such recommendations would only benefit foreign private power producers.

According to Kapito, rather than inisist on getting the government to demand more from consumers through the payment of realistic tariffs, the World Bank and its affiliates should "bring money for the government of Ghana to pay Ghanaians realistic salaries so that we [Ghana] can afford to pay these utilities that they say we should increase”.

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