The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has contended that hotels in the country are exempt from the government’s COVID-19 free water policy since they are commercial entities.
According to the company, the intervention was tailored exclusively for domestic users to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 induced hardships on citizens but not for profit-making enterprises such as hotels.
The President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr in an interview last Friday, June 5, 2020, lamented and questioned why GWCL is billing hotels for water consumption despite the President’s relief package to support businesses and the general public.
He indicated that hotels “are being charged for water when the President directed that water should be free. From our engagement with the President, it was clear that he had in mind that everybody, whether commercial or domestic users should be given free water. So why should Ghana Water Company Limited continue to charge the commercial users? I wish this will be sorted out, it’s very important.”
He, therefore, urged the water utility company to desist from billing the hotels.
But responding to the reservations of the Association in an interview with ABC News, Communications Director for GWCL, Mr. Stanley Martey argued that all commercial organisations do not qualify to get the water for free.
He clarified that, for those who are using the water as raw material or input for other products as businesses, the government is unable to do them that favour since they are making profits at the same old rate.
“Hotels have their private business and so they use our water. If you go to sleep in a hotel now, you will pay. They won’t say because of COVID, it is being reduced for you. There are others who are using the water for industrial purposes; all of them will pay. If you are using the water as an input to another product so that you could make a profit, then you are not part of it,” he said.
“But if it is for domestic use, that is where you are told to use it for free. So if a hotel owner goes to his home; the hotel owner doesn’t live in his hotel but lives in his private home. The water in a private home is free but then the water in his hotel cannot be for free and we expect that they will settle their bills.”
“Government can’t give that one also for free. Because I don’t think they’ve even reduced their hotel rates,” Mr. Martey intimated.
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