Passengers boarding a trotro
Transport operators have stated that they planned to increase fares by between 30 and 35 percent but for the sake of the poor Ghanaian, they had to cut the figure by half.
Alhaji Yaw Manu, Chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), who disclosed this in an interview with this paper yesterday, said poor Ghanaians residing in the hinterlands could not afford a 30 percent price hike even though transport owners were made to suffer the harsh conditions as a result of rising cost of vehicle spare parts, fuel and bank loans.
The recent fuel increment by 23 percent has come about as a result of government’s refusal to subsidize petroleum prices henceforth.
GPRTU on Saturday announced a 15 percent increment in fares with effect from July 14.
This was after consultations between the Transport Ministry and transport operators represented by the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC).
Yaro Kasambata, Public Relations Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), attributed the 23 percent increment in petroleum prices to the removal of the fuel subsidies, the prices of crude oil on the international market and the depreciation of the Ghana cedi.
He noted that since government was no longer going to subsidize the price of petroleum products, consumers should be prepared to pay the full cost.
A fortnight ago, NPA indicated that it will increase the price of petroleum products after an acute shortage of the product hit various parts of the country, especially Accra.
The shortage was caused by the inability of government to promptly settle its debts to Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs).
He also noted that the irregular payment of fuel subsidies by government ‘was choking the industry.’
Banks, he said, will now have more room to honour Letters of Credit (LC) submitted to them by BDCs.
The new transport fares cover intra-city (trotro), inter-city (long distance), as well as taxi cabs.
The statement urged transport operators to strictly comply and charge only approved fares, and publish them at the various transport terminals to avoid any confrontation with passengers.
Meanwhile, commuters in Accra yesterday expressed fury about the high transport fares since some drivers charged above the approved rates by GPRTU.
A civil servant, speaking on the fortnightly fuel price increases by NPA said: ‘For some time now, our salaries have not been increased yet, every other month, they bombard us with price increases – if not water and electricity then it will be petroleum products – and we all know that increment of those items affects every other commodity or services, but our salaries remain the same.’
He said Ghanaians, especially government workers, depend solely on their meager salaries.
The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), he noted, had put hold on category two and three allowances.
‘All government workers have turned into managers and performers of miracle till their next monthly salary comes.
‘We are appealing to the government to put in measures to cushion workers to enable them maintain their families adequately,’ he said.
But Deputy Energy Minister, John Jinapor, insisted that Government was being ‘realistic’ because it could not continuously pay about GH¢400 million to BDCs when we can also use the money to ensure that hospitals run and to ensure that other parts of the economy moves on.
Analysts have also stated that Government has not been truth since the cedi’s deprecation has hit economic managers hard.
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