About Petrol Price Increase 3

 The National Petroleum Authority of Ghana has increased the price of fuel amidst mixed feelings. Whilst others claim the prices are reasonable, some believe the increases would just deepen the economic woes of the people. These were the views of some people i came across at Nsawam (in the Eastern Region of Ghana):-

The impact of the petrol price increases has been very harsh. It has affected every aspect of our lives and we keep feeling it as the days pass by. As you can see I am a pregnant woman and do not know how things would have looked like if it weren’t for the National Health Insurance Scheme. Some of us do not have anywhere to turn to in difficult moments and that is why we look up to the government for salvation. The President has said the petrol price has been increased because we need money to grow as a nation but we plead with him to reduce it “small” so that the taxi drivers and food sellers would stop strangling people.”

The next day after the announcements of the increase, the attendants of some of the filling stations had it very tough because some of the drivers had not heard of the increase and even if they had, they were adamant about paying the new prices. As an attendant at this station, I can say that the current margins are a little too much. Now let’s do a little analysis. Diesel used to cost GHC 5.31. Immediately the increment was announced, the price automatically changed to GHC6.86. Super was selling at GHC 5.26 and those also changed to GHC6.86p. Look at the margins and calculate by say 50 gallons and you would see how serious the situation is.”

Currently in this country there is a high rate of unemployment and the few companies are not paying workers well, especially the foreign ones. Go to the small factories they have set up across the country and see for yourself how they are exploiting poor Ghanaian workers. You dare not complain because if you do, you’re going to be dismissed outright. So with this increment in the price of fuel, the plight of the Ghanaian worker is going to be aggravated. Why does government increase the price of fuel so much at a time when we have just started exploiting oil in commercial quantities? Some of us have resolved we are not going to vote any longer because these politicians are not making life bearable for the poor. ”

Well I believe the transport operators have just made the situation worse. What the majority are charging does not reflect the increase in fuel prices. It seems to me they have always been waiting for an opportunity to increase the fares and this was a chance for them to do so. I believe there would not be another increase for a long time to come but just in case there happens to a need to do so, it is our humble plea that there should be a form of consultation between the NPA and transport operators so that together they can quote prices which would favour the passengers also.”

“ I come from the Volta Region but I only come here to sell. Because my family resides there I travel to that region very often so I felt the heat of this increment in the price of petroleum products. Here at Nsawam, I sell fried yam with turkey tails and the passengers in the vehicles who travel along this road no longer purchase as much as they used to citing reasons that they have to pay more for transportation. Because the yams are also not being sold quickly, the harmattan makes it hard so you are compelled to fry new ones whilst the old one you cooked in the morning is not finished. We love President Mills so much that when we heard people casting insults at him, we felt very sad. Since he came to power everything was stable and it made everyone happy. I plead with him to reduce the prices so that his enemies would be put to shame.”

Over here transportation plays a key role in our trade. We travel miles to the bakery where we buy the bread we sell here. As you can see all the young men and women are engaged in this business for sustenance and survival. It was therefore a shock when the transportation and the price of bread went up within a twinkle of an eye. The bakers also claim the price of flour had increased therefore the majority of them who fear losing customers have begun reducing the size and weight of the bread. If it is possible, the government should place special subsidy on flour so that the price of bread at the bakeries across the country remain stable. I hope you agree with me that there is not a single household in Ghana which does not consume bread. It forms a key component of the breakfast in many homes.”

For me what I can say is that this is not the first time there has been increment in the prices of fuel. Even under kufuor there were several increases in the price of fuel so for me, I advise that instead of wailing and shouting as if the President has committed murder, we should rather be finding out where the revenue generated out of the fuel increases is going. If the money would go into the construction of better roads, building of more healthcare delivery systems and take care of the aged and sick in the hospitals who have been detained for their inability to pay medicals, then fine. The President must at this time put in place measures to check embezzlement and thievery of these monies else the sacrifices of the already suffering people would come to nothing.”

What I know is that the problem of periodic increases in the price of fuel is not peculiar to Ghana. Everywhere across the world people are facing the harsh realities of petrol price increments. In the United States of America, London, Tunisia, Bolivia and even Pakistan there are this difficulties which people have to confront. I am an aluminium technician by profession and my customers are complaining against my charges and in many instances they are not able to pay for the work I do for them so the problem is everywhere. We need to support the government because it is working very hard. It is also true that the majority of the youth are unemployed and they are contributing to the problems of the nation. It is my hope that as we keep sacrificing and supporting this government our toils are made to go towards addressing some of these social and economic


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