COPECGH Decries Cedi Depreciation – Daily Guide Africa

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers has faulted the Central Bank for failing to stop the rapid depreciation of the cedi, the local currency, against major foreign currencies which has resulted in the avoidable increases in petroleum prices.

In a release issued recently in Accra and signed by Duncan Amoah, Executive Secretary, COPECGH said: “It is not only the trend but the fact that there seems be to no end in sight to these persistent fuel price increases, as importers who require over $300 million monthly to be able to supply the market with the needed products also have to go on the open market for the dollar as there are no guaranteed notes by the Bank of Ghana.”

It revealed that the “net effect of such poor management of the country’s currency is the continuous increases in pump prices at a time when the global fuel pricing index seemed to suggest Ghana had reduced fuel prices from the previous $0.94/litre to current $0.87/litre levels.

“Public anxiety and anger is mounting and could soon result in mass agitations and street protests if the current trend is not checked. The current spate of fuel price increases is simply unsustainable and must be a top priority for the current government to curtail and reverse.

“Cost of public transport is indeed likely to go up anytime from next week and could further worsen the already harsh economic climate in the country.”

It stated that although consumers jubilated over the removal of certain taxes, the net expected impact of about 3 percent which was yet to be felt across pumps seemed to have already been wiped off by recent increases at the pumps.

“Fuel prices over the past six windows spanning some three months has only seen consumers pushed to squeeze additional monies at every window, a cumulative 19.6 percent has since been added to pump prices from previous average pump prices of 16.30/ gallon or 3.620/litre to current average levels of 4.320/litre or 19.46/ gallon.”

COPECGH added that world market indexes have remained fairly stable over the period, trading at average of between $53-$56 though currently a bit lower, adding that “the cedi which seems to be the major factor in these incessant increases has since the same period lost about 17.73 percent from previous exchange values of GH¢3.89/1$ to current market average levels of GH¢4.580/$1.”

“Fuel prices continue to go upwards in the country even after the budget presentation that sought to attempt to reduce same from the removal of excise levy and a reduction on the Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) from 17.5 percent to 15 percent,” it added.

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By Samuel Boadi