FITUG wants GPL budget cuts reversed as it opposes ‘light bill’ increase – executives meet President

Georgetown, GINA, June 12, 2013

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) is not in agreement with the 26.7 percent hike in electricity tariff proposed by the Guyana Power and Light, but is also calling on the political opposition to restore the power company’s 2013 budgetary allocation that was cut, if the situation is to be reversed.

President of the coalition trade union body Carvil Duncan who met President Donald Ramotar today for talks in the company of the Union’s General Secretary Kenneth Joseph and other members told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the tariff hike will create additional hardships on workers.

President Donald Ramotar and Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh in discussion with the Officials of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG)

“It (tariff hike) it is frightening and the only one they (consumers) will have to blame is the opposition parties… FITUG is their (workers) friend and we are fighting for them,” Duncan said in an invited comment.

The power company announced on June 8 that the option to increase tariff is premised on the need to raise revenue so that the company can remain financially viable.

GPL stated that it will require at least $90M of investments within the next five years, for it to make substantial reductions in technical and commercial losses and continues to bemoan the impact of fuel prices.

The new rates have not taken effect but GPL’s Board is actively engaged in planning its implementation, having submitted its Final Return Certificate (FRC) to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

GPL was denied $5.2B that was budgeted for this year by the political opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) in the National Assembly two months ago.

“We wish that some wisdom can prevail and that the opposition leaders will do something to restore the budget cut,” Duncan said in an invited comment.

President Ramotar had shared a similar position, warning that a failure to restore the cuts would decelerate the progress that has been made in the housing sector as utilities are important to domestic and business consumers.

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