General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah has extolled President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his timely intervention of a three-month free water service for Ghanaians in these moments of crisis.
According to him, the intervention is one that is transparent and benefits the majority of Ghanaians nationwide as water is a fundamental commodity needed by all.
As part of measures to alleviate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ghanaians, particularly the poor, President Akufo-Addo in his fifth televised address to the state on Sunday, April 5, 2020, among many others said people will not make any financial commitments for water services for the three next months.
The President also directed that nobody should have their pipelines and electricity disconnected for the said period as the two utilities have become very essential in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
Reacting to the President’s gesture in an interview monitored by ABC News, General Mosquito as he is popularly called observed that it will bring significant relief to the ordinary Ghanaian.
“My major takeaway from the President’s address was the free water thing and it is a good thing. Already, I have been calling for a relief which will benefit majority of the people in a transparent manner. I have always argued that in order to share a relief that goes to the larger number of people in a transparent way, we need to consider utility bills,” he said.
However, he indicated that more could be done to reduce the burden on Ghanaians even further. He, therefore, called on the President and the government at large to do the same for telephone bills and fuel prices.
“If the Communication Service Tax was abolished during this crisis period, it would have benefitted the largest number of people because the impact of such things always affects the poor and government should also consider that.”
“And when it comes to fuel, the reduction that came does not reflect that on the world market. Because petrol has moved from about 50 dollars to 20 dollars and so a reduction of at least 30% will be very welcoming particularly in this moment of crisis. That will help to take away the financial impact of the social distancing in the trotros and buses from the individual entrepreneurs,” he suggested.
Mr. Asiedu Nketiah further raised questions about how the free meal distribution for the poor was being carried out saying it needs to be monitored closely.
He, for instance, could not comprehend why such a policy will be spearheaded by the women leaders of the governing New Patriotic Party and not designated government officials so to speak.
“What will be difficult to monitor is the food distribution exercise ongoing. Because if they say they are going to make a distribution to 100,000 people and end up sharing 40,000 who do they account to?”
“Human beings have the tendency to be corrupt that is why we put in place checks and balances,” he said.