The CEO of Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors says prices of petroleum products have not gone up inconsistently with global figures to warrant concern or criticisms against the government.
Reiterating the position of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Senyo Hosi said the current ex-pump price of petroleum products appropriately fits into the dictates of external factors that determine the pricing of the commodity.
“Crude prices are about 24% above what it was one year ago. Diesel international prices are about 27% up, pump prices are 13% up…it is not abnormal. It’s actually a function of the entire international situation,” he said Tuesday evening on PM Express, a current affairs programme on the Joy News channel on Multi TV.
His comments follow a planned protest march on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 by the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) and Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU).
Executive Director of COPEC, Duncan Amoah, who was also on the current affairs programme, said the current administration must move to mitigate the burden of the increasing prices of fuel.
COPEC and the ICU have said the last five months have seen a persistent increase in the prices of petroleum products with corresponding hardships.
“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,” a member of the ICU told Joy News.
Meanwhile, the National Petroleum Authority, the sector regulator, has urged the two organisations to seek clarity about the situation to “ensure that the public is not misled by those who are motivated by reasons other than those of national interest.”
NPA said in a release Tuesday evening that since February 1, 2018, the Price Stability and Recovery Levy (PSRL) on petrol (GHp12/Lt) and diesel (GHp10/Lt) have been completely neutralised to reduce the impact of rising prices on the international market on Ghanaian consumers.
“This means that government has forfeited the revenue it would have collected on these products for the period 1st – 15th February 2018 in order to cushion consumers,” the NPA said.
But when the protest begins on Wednesday, COPEC and ICU will be hoping to get the government to do even more about fuel price hikes.
Senyo Hosi has urged the government to look at the bigger picture and fashion out a more sustainable solution to the perennial agitations against fuel price increases.
He suggests investments in mass public transport system to cushion Ghanaians from the economic hardships that come with ex-pump price increases of petroleum products.
“We are here primarily because we allowed politicians to deceive us. We also acted in ways that encouraged them to do so. We have subsidised this economy and this sector by 2.5 to 3 billion dollars since 2011 and for me as an economic policy analyst, it’s ridiculous. That was money we should have spent transforming our mass transportation sector,” he said.
He envisages that the dynamics will change once government invests significantly in mass transportation infrastructure.