On the 4th of January 2011, the National Petroleum Authority of Ghana, announced petroleum price increases of between 25 and 30% as a result of rising world crude prices as well as increases in the Tema Oil Refinery Debt Recovery Levy approved by the parliament according to Alex Mould, Chief Executive Officer of the petroleum authority.
Well, lets hear what the people of Nsawam in the (Eastern Region of Ghana) had to say about the increases:-
ABENA AMANKWAH (NSAWAM)
“ It is true that many people are not happy about the price they would have to pay for petrol after the recent increases. Of course sales have gone down and many people are now guarding jealously over their pesewa and coins. However is there anything positive coming out of this increases in the price of fuel? If yes then I plead with fellow Ghanaians to give the President all the necessary support. Over the years there have been similar increments but what came of it? It is very true that this would affect the pockets of many families and there would be some unease for a while, but we might gain from it. They have also said the fuel in now very expensive from where they bring it from so we have to pay the balance?
SETH AMANOR (NSAWAM)
“At this filling station there are people who come and fill their tanks just as they used to and others who come and complain. For them the margins are too much and it is affecting their income .They fear losing their customers if they should increase the cost of their services and are therefore forced to maintain their previous charges. I am of the view that there are many poor people who suffer when the price of fuel is increased because of the very fact that the very commodities which they rely on for survival change in prices when there are increments. The government must therefore take over the pricing of the product from the National Petroleum Authority and control the prices themselves.”
VIDA MENSAH (NSAWAM)
“Some of us have taken to selling bread by the road side because we do not want to fall into prostitution nor lead indecent lifestyles. I know I wouldn’t have to come selling chasing after vehicles and putting my life at risk, if my parents have the means to put me into school or put me into some sort of vocation. We are doing our best also because we know that government cannot provide employment to all people and therefore the need for us to assist it to run the country. That is why we ask that they put in place measures to cushion the poor against such unexpected increases in the price of fuel which have a direct impact on the livelihood of the people.”
SAMUEL OFORI (NSAWAM)
“As for the petrol price I don’t think it can remain the same forever. The thing is not for us and even it does, there is not enough on the market and when that happens, you must certainly expect some amount of adjustment which should reflect the true cost of the product. As of now there are many things we need to do as a country some of which includes the expansion of our road networks and the building of more schools and better accommodation for our people. Nothing on earth would remain stable so let us come together and offer better solution to this global phenomenon.”
KWABENA MENSAH (NSAWAM)
“ The ingredients for baking bread has has gone up drastically and that is what makes me worried most. If you have noticed, you would find out that the majority of bakeries have reduced the weight of the bread and have still maintained the old price. What accounts for this is that the margarine, flour and everything which goes into the baking of bread have shot up partly because of the fuel. They claim it is eating into their profit and that is why they have reduced the weight of the bread. As for me my advice is that government must have mercy for the poor people in the society so that they can also live as happy citizens. Professor Mills must make sure this happens very soon because the hardship brought to bear on the people is too much.”
FLORENCE DOGBE (NSAWAM)
“I disagree with the people who are criticizing this government for this problem but I want to ask one question. How did the Tema Oil Recovery come to owe that much? For more than 10 years we have been paying this debt but it keeps appearing on the books of the company and we are being bullied into paying it every time. They say the price at which the refined product was being sold to the filling stations did not reflect the amounts of monies which go into its refining. At the same time we have already been told that for a long time TOR was shut down and in fact we had to import the fuel so how come the debt?
DIANA ASAMOAH (NSAWAM)
“ Thank you my brother for giving me this opportunity to speak to the Insight Newspaper. All the time when the issues come up it is only the big men who discuss the issues on radio and on T.V and we, the people who are affected directly by their policies are not given the opportunity to comment. As for this petrol prices, I beg the President to put his foot down and make sure that there is a reduction in the price of the product. Over here we sell yam and turkey tails and that is the job we have been doing for a long time in order to take care of our children. As we speak the government has banned the importation of turkey tails and those who manage to bring it into the country sell it so expensively and as if that were not enough, they have recently increased the price of fuel so we are not getting it easy at all.”
CECILIA JONES (NSAWAM)
“We must begin to start looking at things realistically as a people and stop the unnecessary noise making. We are the same people who join long queues and vote for the politicians so why don’t we go to them and find out why they do what they do but rather sit down and murmur while there is no change in our circumstances. The lorry drivers are just making the situation worse by extorting unreasonable fares because they know we need to rely on transportation to do everything. The government must issues an immediate directive to all the driver unions across the country and get them fix transport fares which would reflect the actual fares we are supposed to pay when we board the vehicles