General News of Friday, 21 September 2018
A former Deputy Power Minister, John Jinapor says claims by the Energy Minister that fuel prices would have been higher if government had not intervened smacks of incompetence.
Mr Jinapor said not only is John Peter Amewu’s comment disappointing, it also shows his lack of knowledge of the sector he is supposed to be heading.
Peter Amewu at a news conference in Accra on Thursday, fought off claims that government is doing nothing to reduce the price of petroleum products.
Fuel prices went beyond ¢5 per litre during the week leaving consumers panicky, with many calling on government to step in and provide some cushion.
Mr Amewu said government deserves commendation
During his address at the press conference, Mr Amewu said government had already done enough.
“Without government’s intervention, prices today would have been ¢5.54 per litre for petrol and ¢5.55 for diesel. So what it means that the price we are paying today, if the Mahama-led administration was still in power, you would have been paying quite close to between nine and 10 percent higher than the current prices that Ghanaians are paying.”
He said the Special Petroleum Tax levy has been reduced on two occasions from 17 percent to 13 percent on two different occasions, adding “it’s time we give this government the recognition for caring for the people of this country.”
But Mr Jinapor finds this assertion baffling.
Speaking on Joy FM’s’ midday news, the Yapei Kusawgu MP said “once again, Amewu exhibits his lack of competence of that sector”.
“You have superintended over a depreciation of the cedi by about 20 percent, which has culminated in fuel price increases, Ghanaians are crying and your excuse is that but for you, it should have increased more than what we are witnessing,” he added.
He wants the government to identify ways to mitigate the price hikes rather than asking for praise.
Mr Jinapor and his colleagues in Parliament want petroleum prices slashed by 10 percent. This they say can be achieved by the removal of the Special Petroleum Tax levy of 46 pesewas.
He is convinced that government can still reduce the price of petroleum products and not feel it because fuel prices on the world market are high.
“When fuel prices are very low on the world market, you put tax elements on it because you need to raise revenue, but when fuel prices increases, taxes are removed.
“As I speak, the benchmark price is about $77 meaning that Ghana is getting extra $20 on every single barrel that we export, that is additional revenue coming into the country and so when we say that you are getting additional revenue beyond what you anticipated and so you can use that to cushion Ghanaians, it is grounded in fact,” he said.
The MP says he finds the Minister’s posture on the issue “extremely insulting to the people of Ghana.”