Editorial: Pipeline water costs ‘killing’ hoteliers

President of the GHA, Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamikeh Jnr

At the Ghana Hotels Association’s (GHA) third National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Accra recently, president of the GHA, Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr, had cause to lament the 167 percent hike in cost of pipeline water from the Ghana Water Company – saying it is astronomical and unjust.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) on June 1, 2023 approved an upward adjustment in water and electricity tariffs; a decision that was based on various factors including the rising expense of raw water treatment chemicals, cost of electricity, the exchange rate and inflation.

Although the PURC increased the water tariff by eight percent in June, the Association said that of hotel operators went up by 167 percent – a situation that is pushing a number of operators over the edge.

Citing a situation, the hoteliers bemoan that a hotel which paid GH¢3,500 a month to the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) is now being billed GH¢9,200 for the same consumption.

Consequently, Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamike appealed to the PURC – the utilities regulator – to revert to the 8.3 percent upward adjustment as announced.

He notes that the 167 percent came as a surprise to members and was initially taken for a mistake; however, after petitioning PURC, the regulator has yet to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, although the GWCL has failed to resolve the matter, the GHA complains that the Ghana Water Company is going around trying to disconnect some members because of the huge debt that has been created – which is due to no fault of the Association.

The earlier GWCL resolves the matter, the better for the hotel industry – which is key to success of the tourism industry and its ambitious targets.

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, together with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), seeks to bring in about two million domestic and international arrivals by 2025 with a corresponding revenue of US$5billion.

This year, the ministry and GTA are anticipating an estimated tourism revenue of US$3.4billion against the US$2billion realised in 2022. Hence, while government is contemplating boosting revenue through tourism-related activities, the high utility charges that hoteliers face defeats the whole objective and must be looked into to maximise tourism’s manifold benefits.

Already, Ghana is seen as an expensive tourist destination in the West Africa sub-region compared to similar destinations on the continent.

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