The Ghana Progressive Hotels Association (GHAPROHA) has appealed to the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, and the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to intervene in the high water bills for hotels.
The group noted the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) tariffs were too high for industry players, the Reverend Emmanuel Geadda-Asando, National President of GRAPROHA, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Tema.
He noted that even though the PURC increased the water tariff by eight percent in its last price adjustment, the GWCL charges for hotels amounted to 167 percent.
Rev. Geadda-Asando said that forfeited PURC’s recognition that water was life and fundamental to human and peoples’ rights and was also critical to businesses and organizations.
He said, “immediately the PURC announced the agreed percentage increments, GWCL began to target hotels throughout the country and sent astronomical bills to individual hotels electronically for February 2023”.
He cited for instance that the current average cost per unit of consumption for hotels (classified as commercial users) was GHC11.22 before the PURC announcement.
“But when we received our bills, the costs had shot up to GHC30.00. A hotel that paid GHC3,500.00 for January 2023 bill is now billed to pay GHC9,200.00 for February for the same consumption.
“Consumption 75 X 11.22 per unit price in January was GHC841.50, but February’s consumption of the same is GHC 2,250.00 without other changes,” he said.
The GHAPROHA President emphasized that the calculated percentage increase was 167 percent which according to the association was extraordinary, punitive, and prohibitive to their operations.
He, therefore, reiterated calls to the PURC and the sector ministry to intervene and find solutions to the prohibitive increases in water tariffs relative to hotels.
Rev. Geadda-Asando said hoteliers were law-abiding citizens who generated jobs, and provided sustainability of incomes, and contributed to the economy through the payment of over 20 taxes, charges, and levies to government agencies and District Assemblies.
“Our members do not wish to embark on industrial action, which may be detrimental to the image of the government. We believe the government should intervene to bring the utility service providers to order,” he said.
He stated that it must be put on record that though water was a critical factor for hoteliers’ services, it was not the sole factor as several operational costs combined to make their services seamless.
The GHAPROHA President said hoteliers intend to push the cost to their guests and customers, however doing so would mean the cost of doing business in Ghana would be high and make them less competitive, and eventually drive tourists to other destinations.
He added that other implications downsizing of operations, staff layoff, inability to pay the new tariffs due to potential low sales revenue; coupled with the current unfavourable economic environment;
Rev. Geadda-Asando appealed to the GWCL and the Electricity Company of Ghana to avoid threats of cutting supplies to the hospitality industry but use their usual normal approach to solicit payments from hotels and restaurants.