General News of Thursday, 1 January 2015
The Ghana Private Roads Transport Union (GPRTU) says the decrease in the price of fuel will not automatically translate into a decrease in transportation fares.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) announced a reduction in the price of fuel by 10 percent, effective January 1, 2015, leading to suggestions that transport fares will also be reduced.
However, according to the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the GPRTU, Mr. Robert Sabah, other factors, and not just fuel prices, contribute to the increase or otherwise of transport fares so it will be unwise for the union to decrease the prices until a proper evaluation of those factors have been done.
He told Citi News on Wednesday: “It is not petrol alone that goes into the running costs of our operations, there are other factors which are equally important. We will ensure that we go to the market and see whether the reduction of fuel by 10 percent has also affected areas like the insurance charges that we pay, the lending rates, the income taxes, the DVLA registration and the actual cost of registration.
“There are issues like tyres, maintenance cost, spare parts. All these components added together make up the running cost our operations. If all these indications are still higher, there is a likelihood that it will not be all that wise to reduce the cost,” he added.
He also stated that it was unfair that the people only expected the transport fares to be increased given that other sectors had also seen an increase in their price rates when fuel prices went up in July.
“Medical bills, water bills, electricity bills, the building materials and school fees rose because of the increase in [the price of fuel]. So is it possible for one part to reduce its cost of operations whilst the others are still high?” he queried.
“In any case when we look at all this we may consider it. I cannot single-handedly say that we are going to decrease the lorry fare. The decision should be a collective decision, I’m only expressing an opinion and that is what i will table before any table that is organised towards this very issue. The decrease in the fuel prices is long overdue. It took the TUC and some other pressure groups to press this issue and we think it is a step in the right direction,” he added.
The GPRTU in, October, refused to decrease transport fares a two percent reduction in the prices of petroleum products due to the “negligible” rate of the increase.
They, however added that there was “an existing convention between the transport operators and the Minister of Transport that we can only increase our fares when there is an increment in [the price of] fuel to the tune of five percent and above.”