Reduce fuel prices or face unabated protests – COPEC to Govt

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The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has threatened to hold a nationwide demonstration against the government if it fails to reduce petroleum prices within a week.

COPEC made this known Wednesday, February 7, 2018 after a protest that saw a swarm of people converge to demand fuel price reduction. A litre of petrol currently sells for 4 cedis 62 pesewas at some major fuel stations across the country.

The protesters, from all parts of the country, say the consistent price increase has brought untold hardships on them, with some questioning government’s campaign promise to reduce fuel prices.

A statement by the Corporate Affairs Division of the NPA stated that the NPA has made several attempts by way of the Price Stabilisation interventions over the past three months, explaining that: “Petroleum products have been on the rise on the international market. For instance the prices of petrol and diesel on the international market have increased cumulatively by 17% and 19% respectively since November 2017.”

“The current price deregulation regime has been in effect since July 2015, price volatility on the international market is expected to directly impact domestic pump prices because government has no direct control over the setting of the bi-weekly prices of petroleum products,” added the Authority.

But COPEC argued otherwise, stating that close to 50% of the total cost of fuel in Ghana at the pumps is nothing but one tax or the other with the Special Petroleum Tax alone pegged at 15% on ex depot price position which currently translates into 0.53 pesewas per litre thereby meaning Ghanaians pay on each gallon of 4.5litres; a tax burden of 2 cedis and 39 pesewas (GHS 2.39p).

Addressing the demonstrators, the Executive Director of COPEC Duncan Amoah called for an immediate scrapping of the taxes which would in turn translate into fuel prices reduction at the pumps.

“We are saying that government should reduce the taxes so that we can be comfortable. Today, petrol is selling at GH¢11 ex-refinery price. If government was doing GH¢6 taxes we will be able to buy petrol in Ghana at GH¢17 maximum.

“Unfortunately, GH¢21 we are still increasing fuel prices. Nana Addo, we beg of you Ghanaians are complaining of the increases. We are tired of having to cough up more money every day, every week to be able to pay for fuel to go by our daily jobs,” he bemoaned.

He continued: “The promises we were given…if you can’t fulfill the promise to reduce fuel prices bring it down to GH¢16 so that we can all be sure that where it was is where it is and nothing has been added. Unfortunately, it’s still rising.”

He said COPEC after petitioning the President would wait for a week for a meaningful response and anything short of that “we will continue until the government listens to the plight of our pocket.”

One of the protesters who came from the Ashanti region told Starr News that he is disappointed in the government as he expects it to keep its electioneering promises on fuel prices.

“I expect everything to be normal. At least, if the prices wouldn’t even go down it should be at where it was [when it took power]. But now from GH¢14.40p to GH¢21+ is too much,” he stated.

Source: Ghana/Starrfmonline.com/103.5FM

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