The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) have directed all landlords and landladies to allow their tenants to use water for free for July, August and September.
This directive by the Ministry and the GWCL follows the extension of free supply of electricity and water to consumers by President Nana Akufo-Addo, amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, while presenting the mid-year budget in Parliament on Thursday, 23 July 2020, announced that the government will extend the free supply of electricity and water for another three months.
The government, he said, will continue to offer “subsidised electricity consumption for the people and for businesses, large and small, by 50 per cent to 4 million (4,086,286) households and nearly 700,000 (686,522) businesses at a cost of GH¢1.02 billion” as was the case from March 2020 for three months.
However, the free supply of water will be limited to “lifeline customers.”
Mr Ofori-Atta said: “It takes a caring government of the people, and with that, I mean, a Government of all the people, to offer cost-free water to all across the country: representing all domestic and commercial customers in Ghana for three months.”
“It takes a caring government to be for the people and for business, large and small, to choose to subsidise electricity consumption by 50 per cent to 4,086,286 households and 686,522 businesses at a cost of ¢1.02 billion in three months. And we will extend the coverage for lifeline customers for another three months,” he added.
The COV1D-19 pandemic broke out in Ghana in March this year.
President Akufo-Addo announced in April, three months of free electricity and water for consumers, as part of additional measures being taken by the government to reduce the impact of the coronavirus in the country.
In a statement issued by the GWCL on Sunday, 26 July 2020, the company informed the general public that “the implementation of the President’s directive is in progress, since the period of implementation takes effect with the July consumption.”
The GWCL noted that all its domestic customers “on category 611, shall have their bills from July, August and September 2020, absorbed and paid by the government” while “all metered stand-pipes on category 643, shall be used to serve citizens for free”.
“Vendors are expected to still control the services to the public as usual. This is to ensure the prudent use of water”, the statement said.
It continued that: “Landlords and landladies who sell water to tenants must allow tenants to use the water for free from July, August and September.”
Also, “the public, including opinion leaders” and customers of GWCL “must, with the greatest respect, desist from mounting standpipes, or connecting water in any way without recourse to the Ghana Water Company Limited. It is wrong and illegal for anybody to connect water to any property without reference to the GWCL. Anyone who flouts this directive, contravenes the law; the Public Utilities (Termination of Services) Regulations 1999, LI 1651 and it’s likely to face the full rigours of the law. All customers disconnected prior to the President’s announcement in April, are still liable, and must pay their arrears to enable them enjoy the free water”, adding: “Customers in arrears must negotiate with the District Offices and or Regional Offices for flexible terms of payment to enable them settle their arrears, then they can be reconnected to enable them enjoy the free water services. These cases will be treated on individual bases”.
The statement said: “Water supply tankers and COVID Free WataTank services are still in operations to serve deprived communities. Consumers in such communities must liaise with the Assembly members, who will request for the services of these tankers from our district offices.”
The GWCL also entreated “customers to repair all leakages in their homes, including overflowing reservoirs and dripping taps and valves”, and noted that: “Citizens must also do well to report all burst pipes and leakages immediately to the nearest GWCL district offices, customer service centres, fault offices to enable staff of GWCL attend to them as early as practicable to avoid waste.”
It further reminded all Ghanaians that: “It is the collective responsibility of all to report all persons engaged in illegal connections, by-passes, and all malpractices against GWCL to the nearest Police station or to the district offices.”