Ghana Hotels Association petitions PURC on reversal of tariff adjustments

The Executives of the Ghana Hotels Association (GHA) has presented a petition to the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) to enforce its directive to the Ghana Water Company to reverse the tariff adjustment for the months of February to May 2023.

Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr, President of the Association, presenting the petition, said these had created huge debts for its members over the months.

He said its members instead of receiving 8.3 per cent upward adjustment in water tariff announced by the Commission, which took effect on February 1, 2023, they rather received an increment of 16.7 per cent, representing GH? 30 per cubic meter of water.

This, he, said continued until May 2023, even after series of petitions and responses to and from the PURC and a directive issued to Ghana Water Company April 2023 to revert all non-residential customers misclassified as ‘other commercial’ back to ‘non-residential consumer category.’

He said customers in the ‘Non-Residential’ and ‘Other Commercial’ categories with disputed bills should not be disconnected until the completion of the investigations, but customers shall pay a reasonable amount on account to avoid disconnection.

‘We are obviously unhappy and expect the PURC to act on its directive to the Ghana Water Company to reserve these bills which has created huge debts for our members,’ he added.

He said as an Association, they were very much aware of the numerous efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and its Agencies to make Ghana a destination of choice in global tourism, however, with the huge negative impact of the country’s economic downturn on hotel businesses, the last thing they expected were actions and inactions of public agencies that seek to deepen their woes.

He said the actions and inactions of the Ministry of Roads and Highways in making travels on some of the highways a nightmare for tourists, both domestic and international, the Board of GTA in the administration of the Tourism Development Fund that has denied Tourism Trade Associations the needed financial support to be effective partners in the Public Private Sector collaboration mix.

‘The actions and inactions of the Tourism Ministry and GTA in underutilizing the public private partnership forum, as provided in the Tourism Act 817, to address industry challenges,’ he said.

Dr Ackah-Nyamike Jnr said the Association was also at a loss as to why the one per cent COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy was still in the Ghana Revenue Authority’s tax bucket, adding to the long list of tax obligations and increasing their operational cost.

On the issue of the new property rate payment regime, he said in as much as the Association was not against the payment of property rates, they were equally unhappy with the astronomical increases in the rates that property owners, including hoteliers, must pay in the new regime.

He said in an economy where businesses were struggling to survive, the astronomical increases in property rates with no reference to the old existing rates was very worrying and troubling.

‘A well thought out incremental increase in the property rate will have demonstrated empathy to the plight of the struggling business community, including hotels,’ he said.

He, therefore, called on the government to take a second look at this ‘faceless’ property rate regime that had the potential to contribute to the crippling of businesses.

He urged the Tourism and Roads Ministers to give a special attention to strategic roads and other similar ones in all parts of the country that linked Ghana to other countries, saying the state of some strategic road passages must never be compromised.

The President of the Association also called on the Board of the GTA to revisit the proposal for a portion of the one percent tourism development fund to be allocated to functional Tourism Trade Associations every year to support the administration of the Associations.

‘We also call on the Board to revert to the old practice where the stakeholders were updated regularly on the inflows and outflows of the fund and for the Ministry and the GTA to work towards getting the most out of the PPPF,’ he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency