The American Chamber of Commerce, Ghana, backs AGI’s call on the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to end discrimination in water tariffs. We are of the opinion that the recent upward tariff adjustments and the reclassification of Bottled Water and Beverage producers to the Commercial (Special Commercial) category are unfair and place an undue burden on companies.
The Chamber appreciates the country’s current economic situation and the need for utility companies to adjust prices to reflect the changes in the cost of production and inflation. Still, some of these decisions reaffirm the perceived discrimination in the allocation of water tariffs.
Recatorizing Bottled Water and Beverage producers with a 172% tariff increment (GHc 30.00/1000L) is astronomical and unfair. This increment, coupled with increasing inflation, currency fluctuations, the new 21.9% VAT rate, and the proposed increments in Excise Duty rates, is disincentivizing and puts companies in a precarious situation.
Industry is also currently baring the shocks and challenges posed by prevailing local and global issues, and we deem it unfair the seeming shifting of economic burdens to companies already making tremendous efforts to keep their operation running to sustain the economy.
Maintaining employment is vital to the country’s economic recovery efforts. But current trends negatively impact the profitability of companies and could lead to massive job cuts if pragmatic steps are not taken to address the constant increase in the cost of doing business.
We will call on the PURC to review its decision to place bottled water and drink producers in a new category that attracts higher tariffs. We are of the persuasion that maintaining the sector in the Industry category as it has always been will ensure equity and helps dismiss perceived discrimination.
The Chamber also backs earlier calls from the AGI to the PURC to make public the actual cost of service for each consumer category for transparency and fairness.
As an organization representing companies with operations in the Bottled Water and Beverage Industry, the Chamber is convinced that it is prudent to revise this reclassification and also ask the PURC to conform to its advertised rates as the new February tariff increase of 48% for industry is higher than their earlier announced average increment of 8%.
Our member companies are high-revenue customers of the Ghana Water Company, and addressing these issues will ensure constant revenue for the utility company.
The Chamber calls for further dialogues between the PURC and our member companies to resolve these issues in the interest of all stakeholders to protect businesses, ensure jobs and help maintain a favorable business environment to boost investment.