Friday, January 28, 2011

On Petrol Price Increase 4

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:-

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?

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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?

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.”

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



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

Monday, January 17, 2011

About Petrol Price Increase (2)

When I was growing up as a little girl, the availability, scarcity or the price of fuel was not an issue because at that time there weren’t enough vehicles and the country had not seen an influx of factories or private industries that were reliant on fuel with the exception of the state owned enterprises established by Kwame Nkrumah. Most of those factories drew their energy supply from the hydro-electric dam (Akosombo). Today the story is different and all manner of machinery rely on fuel as their source of power. The daily traffic jams we see in town must give us an idea about the number of vehicles which are being driven on our roads reflecting the fast pace of economic growth. I therefore plead with the central government to put measures in place to ensure that this commodity is made readily available at all times and not at an exceedingly exorbitant cost to the consumers because it has become a necessity just like water is.”

Kwe! My friend, you know something, Professor Mills has come and he is here to stay. It was the people of Ghana who after many years of struggle, intimidation, and harassment and in their state of hopelessness decided to place their faith in that man. Anybody who says anything mischievous or wishes the Professor bad luck would lose his teeth and tongue and never would he taste the benefits of the Action Year. I am a taxi driver and have driven to many parts of this country over the past 20 years and I can say with all sincerity that never has there been any massive infrastructural development in this country. The level at which roads are being constructed is high and simply amazing. What did they do with the eight long years we gave them? This man hasn’t made a quarter of his eight years and they say what? What scandals or crimes have the Professor committed that he must be stoned to death? Look here my friend, we have been called upon to make sacrifices towards the development of our dear country and I and my household have responded to the call. No sacrifices under the leadership of Professor Mills can be too much! ”

Currently we are developed as a country and we have attained the middle income status. There can be no doubting the fact that there would definitely be a surge in the demand for fuel. But, how do we deliver this product to the consumers at rates they can afford in spite of the taxes we might have to place on them in order to raise revenue? These are the relevant questions we need to find answers to. Is it possible to look elsewhere in search of that needed revenue for national development? Ghana is a big country with vast resources which must be exploited towards the emancipation of our people from poverty and disease. What has happened to all these and who are in control of these resources?  Multi-national co operations have been smuggled into this country sometimes under very strange circumstances and are making super profits at the expense of the many suffering people most of whom a three square meal a day and access to health care is a luxury. Let’s give hope to our people.”

Well as a matter of right we need to demand a reduction in the just announced prices of fuel. There is certainly going to be a strangulation of the economy. Prices of goods and services are expected to rise and in all of this the workers are going to be those who will be most affected. The employers who cannot afford to pay them would drive them away and with the weak labour laws we have in the country, the few who remain would be forced to strain themselves in order to keep supply to the market. They suffer most in these times because their employers have only in mind the need to make mega profit and they wouldn’t mind to maltreat the workers in order to do that. There must certainly be a reduction in the price of fuel.”

I am not very happy with the way politics has been run in this country over the past 20 years. Our leaders must stand for every word they tell us when seeking our mandate. It is common knowledge that the price of petrol was a major campaign issue in this country during the last elections. And all the parties had their view of how to manage this particular resource. Then, we knew that the country imported crude, we knew that there are ups and downs on the international markets. None of the excuses they are giving us today didn’t exist. We wanted someone who could in spite of these difficulties manage the condition so that the people didn’t have to suffer its repercussions when the going got tough. President Mills must insist that there should be a certain reduction in the margins because he made a promise which got him votes and he must fulfill it.”
We are traders and we rely on transportation to bring our foodstuffs to the city. Where the roads are bad we face untold hardships in bringing down these goods. It so happens that any increment in the price of fuel compels us to pay more for transportation and this particular increase is a little too much. We must also have a system where the prices of particular commodities are fixed in order that traders do not take advantage of fuel price increases and inflate the prices of goods.”

I believe any increment should have been between the ranges of 15 to 20%. The current percentage increase is a bit too high especially when people are just returning from the end of year festivities. Parents are going to pay fees and you can also expect an increase in the water and electricity bills because of these festivities which kept the homes very busy. Moreover, I do not agree with those who think that increasing the price of fuel can be the only way of raising revenue. Is it because everyone patronizes the commodity that we are placing all our burdens on it? Come on, we need to start thinking guided by our past experiences as a nation.”

Over the past weeks there were hints in the media about an impending petroleum price increase and therefore I believe to a large extent the majority of Ghanaians were expecting this increment. However, the 30% increase is completely too much and steps must be taken to reduce it to a minimum. Of course, a commodity which we do not have and must be imported must sometimes come with certain difficulties. That is where the ingenuity of our leaders must come in to cushion the people against the ripple effects, either than that there would be no reason to have a government.”

Sunday, January 9, 2011

About The Petrol Price Increase

                                     BRIGHT KYERE (POKUASE)
Many people are not happy with the recent increment in the price of petroleum products for the reason that it has rendered the GHC5 note absolutely useless. One can no longer buy a gallon of petrol with that money. Not long ago a gallon of petrol was selling at GHC5.25p but now you have to buy that same gallon at GHC6.84p Currently, the difference in the price of a drum of diesel is GHC 80 compared to the previous price and I think that this is just too much. My position has always been that the government must not allow the NPA (National Petroleum Authority) alone to determine the price of fuel because they would always be blamed and would suffer the consequences.”

                                     PHILIP DZAMENU (POKUASE)
As you are very much aware, a gallon of petrol is 4.5 liters and when you do a proper calculation in comparison with the old per liter price you would get GHC 5.25p, for now per liter price is 1.521and when you calculate with the 4.5 liters it would give you GHC6.84p, which means that the quantity is the same but the money needed to buy that same liters of petrol has gone up. I think this is marginal and not monumental and most importantly I have no doubt that under the leadership of the President, the revenue which would accrue from this increment would go towards making Ghana a better place for all and most especially the coming generation.”

                                    STEPHEN BOAMAH (POKUASE)
I must express my disappointment in the government for sitting down and allowing the petroleum authorities to rob the people of this country in broad-day- light. Why at all do we go and vote for these so called politicians who only come and worsen the plight of the suffering people. For some time now everyone was singing praises of this government because they believed it has stabilized the rate at which commodities on the market were always rising. I can say with all certainty that this increment would deal a big blow to that goodwill the people have had for this administration. Why all this suffering?”

                                     SHADRACH AVEJI (POKUASE)
My brother, this increment in fuel is welcoming and I am not surprised everyone has accepted it in good faith.  All hands are not equal and as we are always in a hurry to compare with Malaysia, Dubai, Paris and others, we must know there are sacrifices we have to make so we can be like them. Look around the country and see for yourself the major infrastructural developments that are taking place. It takes money to do all that and I would not hesitate to hand over my last GHC 1 to Professor Mills because he would not use my money to entice women in order to take possession of their womanhood nor go gallivanting the globe visiting friends and conducting dubious deals. Nobody is happy about making sacrifices because it would certainly take all of that delicious meat from your soup, but if you do not do that, you can never put a roof over your head.”

                                      MARK ASARE (POKUASE)
The fact of the matter is that if one did a comparative analysis of the price of crude on the international market compared to the new prices which reflects an increase of the product, you would come to the conclusion that the price change is absolutely illogical. My frustration also stems from the fact that this current administration had a firm position when it came to the policy surrounding energy production and distribution in this country. I believe what informed that position had to do with their participation in the campaign waged against the NPP for petrol price increases. So what has happened? The excuses they have given for what has been done are not different from that of NPP. They must begin to give meaning to the recognition we give them as men of exceptional knowledge which must lead towards finding solution to the many problems of our society. If this is what they are telling us then there would be no need to vote for parties in elections when they cannot work towards making life bearable for the people?

                                      GIDEON TETTEH (POKUASE)
I believe the lesson this current administration must learn from the public outburst following the fuel price increases is that the management and the regulation of that sector must not be left for the National Petroleum Authority. Given the fact that energy plays a crucial role in the life of a developing country we need to have a unique policy which must regulate the sector. Many people are so sad and dejected about this recent increase given the progress made by this administration especially over the year by bringing relief to the people. I want to call on the President to immediately take steps to reduce the margins on this recent increment.”

                                       DOE AMUZU (POKUASE)
I am finding it difficult to accept this price increases for the reason that as of now we have a lot of the product in the system and there are no signs of  shortages in the near future and in fact the crude we import into the country has increased drastically so what can be the reason we are increasing the price of this product. If it is all about raising revenue, I believe there are so many we can do that. In this country we do know for a fact that many companies making super-profits are not paying taxes to the revenue agencies. Consider the huge subsidies we are giving to these gold mining companies and let anyone tell me there can be any justification for imposing such hardship on the people. Why must the rather poor people always pay for the survival and the comfort of the rich in our society?
 I am a sprayer and I currently have three kids all of school going age so can you imagine what the picture would be like as schools have re-opened. I use sikkens Auto Base in spraying cars and a gallon of that is GHC 45 and with this increases I must expect an increase in the price of this paint. I urge President Mills to put his foot down and come to the rescue of the Ghanaian people else these so called technocrats and intellectual are going to wreck havoc.

                                   ARYEETEY ANTHONY (POKUASE)
My biggest worry is that in this country, the price of goods and services shoots up whenever there is an increment in the price of fuel, and true that is what holds the engine of everything we undertake. Our leaders know this very well and they keep relying on fuel in raising revenue. To be candid, I must say that we are losing hope in the political structure of this country because they do not reward us for the sacrifices we make towards bringing them to power. As of now there is no definite intervention on the part of government towards industrializing this country so why all this punishment when the majority is not employed and are not able to make ends meet. I am very sure Professor Mills was not informed about this else this increment would not have happened, I therefore expect that sooner than later he is going to ask for a reduction on the margins”