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Mid-Year Budget: Address one-way transport fare increments – COPEC

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers-Ghana (COPEC-Ghana) has called on the government to introduce a policy to address the ever-increasing transport fares.

The Executive Secretary of COPEC-Ghana, Duncan Amoah, is not happy with the speed of increment in transport fares. However, the same authorities develop cold feet when they are supposed to reduce fares.

The  Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta is scheduled to present the Mid-Year Budget Review on the back of the COVID-19 scourge and recent 15% increase in transport fares.

Mr Amoah told theghanareport.com ahead of the minister’s appearance in Parliament that the public was “interested in the issues around transport fare pricing and we do think that it is high time we design a comprehensive transport policy document such that we would be able to rely on something that is predictable”.

He criticised the urgency of transport operators and the Transport Ministry having meetings to fix transport hikes, but “when the time comes for a reduction in transport fares, we do not hear of these bodies even talk about them”.

He is concerned about the “one-way traffic situation where they only converge to increase fares but have never converged to reduce our fares for Ghanaians”.

Additionally, COPEC-Ghana is expecting policy direction in ways of controlling rising fuel prices.

The energy think tank wants the government to “sustain the cedi’s performance which largely contributes to the rampant fuel prices that we have seen over the past few weeks”.

Depreciation of the Ghana Cedi against the US Dollar implies more cedis will be required to purchase the same quantity of fuel contributing to price hikes.

“That clearly cannot be sustained, and we will be looking forward to the finance minister’s position or commitment on ways of dealing with that phenomenon,” he says.

Low demand for crude in the international market due to COVID-19 sent oil prices tumbling.

But as sleepy industries across the world begin to open their doors after prolonged lockdowns, demand for crude oil is rising.

With crude oil prices likely to shoot up on the international market, COPEC-Ghana is requesting a system to cushion Ghana from being disadvantaged.

“Again we also expect some policy on containment, how would we contain fuel prices when it rises back to the 60,70,80 dollar per barrel level that they were prior to the setting in of COVID.”

“So we would expect that there will be an overall policy direction from government on how it intends to manage petroleum pricing one, petroleum revenue or income or receipts from our petroleum exports two and then how again it intends to control the depreciation of the cedi which has a spiralling effect on your fuel pricing,” he emphasised.

He was of the view that from July to the end of the year, “projections don’t look favourable for those who buy petrol in Ghana and that is why we also have, on a number of occasions suggested a dual fuel pricing policy such that once international market prices go up, a petroleum revenue management board that should be put in place could decide which level of taxes could be eased down so that the ‘Trotro’ or taxi driver does not get unnecessarily inconvenient or overburdened”.

COPEC-Ghana is also proposing widening of vehicle income tax for transport operators.

If compliance is at its peak, “it should become a bit easier to be able to have targeted subsidies for their operations”.

The ripple effect will be the ease of burden in fare increments for commuters.

The petroleum revenue management board would also address the country’s oil revenue use, to safeguard the nation from shocks on the international crude markets.

 

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