There’s No Gov’t Subsidy On Petroleum Products…It’s An Accounting Trick – Pratt

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    Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., has hailed President John Evans Atta Mills for not following the normal routine of giving Ghanaians the same explanation whenever petroleum prices are increased, but going further to explain the real issue on the ground during the “Action Year” Editors Forum held at the Osu Castle.
    To him, the president’s statement that the increment was a revenue generating measure so that government can carry out developmental projects and also better the lot of Ghanaians, was an apt remark and one never made by any of his apologists.
    The outspoken senior journalist, however, voiced his objection to the recently announced 30% increment in petroleum prices, emphatically stating that there is absolutely no subsidy on petroleum products by government and the increment is just an “Accounting Trick”.
    “Indeed, I think that the President was more sincere and honest than many of the people who have supported the fuel price increase. But there is this argument that gov’t is subsidizing petrol and that it is important to cut the subsidies, and that if gov’t cuts the subsidies then some resources will be freed for dev’t and so on. I insist and I’ve always insisted over the last 26 years and I insist today that there is no subsidy on petroleum. The claim that petroleum products are being subsidized is an accounting trick…and everybody knows this trick; so why is it that every gov’t is using the same trick?” he queried.
    The President, in response to a question on what he thought of calls from critics who accuse him of reneging on his promise to drastically reduce fuel prices when voted into power, said the recent price hikes were necessitated by calls from people who needed social amenities to make their lives a lot easier. President Mills said government could not carry out developmental projects because there was no money since they were paying the TOR debt and subsidizing the fuel prices..
    My brothers and sisters, increasing fuel prices is not an easy decision to take but at some stage I had to take a decision… A choice between fuel subsidies and using the money for social interventions to cushion the impact of the hard and parlous state of the economy for, especially, the underprivileged people, I thought that I should take this decision…It is even a miracle that at this stage we can even supply fuel to Ghanaians so I want my brothers and sisters to bear with me. It is not that we are not caring. We had to make a choice and I want to promise you [that] whatever it is that we can save, we will put it to some productive use,” he pledged.
    The CJA lieutenant said President Mills’ claims that the recent hike in fuel prices was meant to generate revenue to develop the country is an honest and sincere admission.
    I spoke about the difference between what President Mills said and what other apologists have said. Yesterday (Friday), Prez Mills made it very very clear that the petroleum price increase was a revenue generation measure that gov’t needed the resources to be able to solve concrete problems of health, education and so on that confronts our people. That to me was an honest admission, if it is a revenue making measure…let us debate that. But even that I’ve a problem with it, even though it is honest and sincere, I’ve a problem with it,” he stated.
    According to him, petrol increment is not about profit and loss making or how a petty trader increases her goods, and believes that the timing of the increment was very bad since people have school fees and other pressing financial needs to take care of.
    “Why will you increase petrol in the first week of the year? Ebiee!” he screamed.