Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Moses Asaga has sounded a strong alert to Ghanaians that government cannot continue to subsidize petroleum prices and charge Ghanaians with wrong prices.
In effect, Ghanaians should “brace” themselves to pay “the right price” for fuel “if they want constant supply,” he stated on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Friday.
Mega-queues at fuel stations the past few days have left consumers panting for petrol and diesel, telling the story of an acute fuel shortage facing the country.
This is true to the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distribution Companies’ warning of a looming fuel crisis if government did not pay its debt of GH¢1.5 billion owed them.
The Finance Ministry has disputed this amount and insists it is rather GHâ‚µ 304 million.
Setting the records straight on the Super Morning Show Friday, the NPA boss attributed the shortage to government’s growing inability to subsidize fuel.
“Competing demands cannot permit government to subsidize only the fuel sector,” he said.
The subsidies were scrapped early last year in a bid to reduce the 12% budget deficit and restore macro-economic stability in Ghana. But government re-introduced it in April this year and has spent around $85 million since then in extra payments, according to the head of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD), who told the Reuters news agency last Friday.
With Asaga’s latest comments, the issue of subsidies is back on the consideration table and he wants it out.
“It is better to have constant supply at the right price than experience shortages,” the conclusion from his own interview with consumers.
He said Social Democratic philosophy of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) informed the culture of subsidizing fuel and added that “when you and me were buying at the wrong price we never complained.”
Government is hard pressed for revenue to fulfil its programmes following failed revenue collection targets and a massive wage bill.
“It is time to pay the right price and get the product,” Moses Asaga said.
Mr. Asaga noted the campaign to sensitize Ghanaians on the removal of subsidies has already began in earnest in the Ashanti region and called on the media in Accra to follow suit.
He further called on Ghanaians to debate the issue of subsidies dispassionately and in a non-partisan manner. Story by Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Edwin Appiah|[email protected]
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