Mr. K.T. Hammond, former Deputy Minister of Energy in the Kufuor administration, has asked the Government of President John Dramani Mahama not to continue squeezing Ghanaians to make up for the incompetence of the administration.
“Ghanaians have suffered enough and cannot continue to be used as guinea pigs by an administration that has clearly lost its way,” Mr. Hammond said in a statement he issued on petroleum pricing in the country, in his capacity as the Ranking Member of Parliament on Energy and released in Accra yesterday.
In a follow-up interview with The Chronicle, Mr. Hammond derided the reduction of petroleum prices by a paltry 10 percent, when the price of crude oil has tumbled on the world market by as much as 50 percent in recent times.
“Ghanaians deserve better in an administration that claims to be charting a course for a Better Ghana,” he said.
The Ranking Member on Energy wondered what has happened to the automatic adjustment formula trumpeted by this regime to justify steep rises in petroleum prices in this country, when the international price of crude oil was rising.
“In any dictionary in any part of the globe, automatic adjustment connotes corresponding effects on pricing locally, as the price of the commodity rises and falls on the international market.
“In Mahama’s Ghana, however, automatic adjustment is looking like an Animal Farm manipulation in which lowering international price is jettisoned and replaced by a formula in which the people pay through their noses to make up for the incompetence of the administration,” he told The Chronicle.
He encouraged Ghanaians to reject the 10 percent reduction and push for a more realistic pricing mechanism reflecting truly on the tumbling of crude oil prices on the international market.
The former Deputy Minister of Energy said between January and July 2013, prices of petroleum products shot up in Ghana by as much as 61.l3 percent – from GHc9.95 per gallon in to GHc16.05 per gallon.
In July, last year, when crude oil was being sold for US$114 per barrel, the Government of Ghana increased prices of refined petroleum products locally, by as much as 23 per cent.
Today, the international market price for crude is selling below $60 dollars. This means that it is possible to sell petrol in Ghana for as low as GHc9 a gallon, he stated.
Mr. Hammond maintained that the price mechanism in Ghana has more than enough taxes to cater for any government indebtedness to oil companies , listing taxes such as TOR Recovery levy, Excise Duty and the newly introduced VAT of 17.5 percent on petroleum products as more than capable of catering for any indebtedness.
“We (the Minority in Parliament) are concerned that the 17.5 percent VAT is not charged on ex-Refinery Prices but rather on ex-Depot prices, after taxes and levies have been added.”
He reiterated his stance that Ghanaians have suffered for too long under the NDC regime and asked the Government to reduce prices in tandem with tumbling world prices of petroleum prices in order that “Ghanaian consumers can have confidence in government pronouncements and support the de-regulation process which appears to have been jettisoned by this administration to satisfy the oil cartel which props up the party in power.”
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