Commercial drivers, ICU, Petroleum Chamber to protest over fuel hikes

General News of Tuesday, 6 February 2018



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Commercial drivers and members of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) are expected to hit the streets Wednesday, to demonstrate against the rising fuel prices in the country.

According to them, the last five months have seen a persistent increase in the prices of petroleum products with corresponding hardships these increases often come with.

The Unions say they will embark on a peaceful protest in Accra to pile pressure on the government to heed their calls.

Already, some drivers have been complaining about the effect of the increases.

The worried drivers tell Joy News increasing fuel prices four times in the last month is killing their business.

Most of the drivers who fall under the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) say they are unable to increase transport fares to correspond with increasing fuel prices because the government has directed them not to do so.

“The increases always take us by surprise. By the time we realise the prices are already up but we cannot increase our fares. When we complain, the government will say we should hold on,” one driver said.

The driver said this has been detrimental to their business because not only fuel has been increased.

“When you go to Abossey Okai for instance to buy spare parts, you realise that the prices have been increased. They say taxes have been increased at the ports,” the worried driver said.

According to him, there are lots of expenses behind the scenes which are not only about fuel but they cannot complain because of the government’s directive to the Union.

He said much as they need for fares to be increased so they can break even, they are constrained because they are under the umbrella of GPRTU.

Adding his voice to the calls of the commercial drivers, Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, Duncan Amoah, said they have been shelving their complaints since June 2017.

“At the time it was less than some 0.70 – 0.80 cents per litre. Today as we speak, you would need to have over $1 to be able to be able to buy one litre of petrol.

“By the time someone is able to buy one gallon of petrol in this country, he/she will be paying close to $5,” he said.

According to him, an analysis will show that the taxes on the fuel is too much.

Mr Amoah said the Chamber has on several occasions called on the government to review the petroleum formulae.

“Unfortunately, the more we talk about reducing some of the taxes or reviewing the formulae the more the prices go up across the country.

“We think that it is time for us to express our anger peacefully and democratically at the growing increases in fuel prices across the country,” he added.

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