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Beyond Mere Words

Jul 14, 2008, 6:40 AM

The increase in electricity tariffs in the country has at last been accorded high priority on government's agenda, taking into consideration President Jammeh's pronouncement that by 2009 NAWEC's electricity tariffs will go down.

President Jammeh last Thursday in receiving members of the Association of Gambian Manufacturers at State House disclosed that by 2009, electricity tariffs would be drastically reduced for customers, with a special concession for industries operating in The Gambia.

The President made it clear that the tariff reduction comes in the heels of a major breakthrough in the energy sector, which has been revamped over the past three years.

This propitious development seen by many as a move in the right direction has sparked a flurry of discussion concerning the creation of a robust economy that will enable more competition in business. Without power, business grinds to a halt. And when businesspeople have to pay a lot more for power, the economy totters on the brink of stagnation. Getting power on all the time and making it affordable by all are essential to our economic growth and prosperity.

For the Association of Gambian Manufacturers, the high cost of production arising from the high electricity tariffs must have been a nightmare. Though they have to cope with the nightmare until the end of this year, they are now more hopeful of better days in 2009.

It is not only businesspeople who groan under the yoke of almost prohibitive electricity tariffs. The ordinary people are also suffering in silence. With the rising costs of foodstuffs, many people are really finding it difficult to settle their electricity bills at the end of the month. Many households are now learning to do without electricity, which is too bad.

As well as bringing down electricity tariffs, the authorities should also consider reducing the high tax on goods and businesses. This has the great advantage of attracting more investors and investments into the country.

But more importantly, we hope that the promise of the electricity tariff reduction will be kept in 2009

"No nation was ever ruined by trade."

Benjamin Franklin