General News of Saturday, 16 February 2013
Source: Joy Online
Government is sparing no effort in its attempts to have fuel subsidy removed as soon as possible.
Finance Minister Seth Terkper said the decision to remove the fuel subsidies has been long overdue.
Speaking on Joy FM and Multi TV’s news analysis programme, Saturday, the minister said in April last year, the late President John Mills and his vice John Mahama, who is now the substantive president met with stakeholders during which it was agreed that the subsidies will be removed.
He said just when the policy was going to be implemented the cedi started depreciating at a faster rate which had a deleterious effect on businesses.
On account of that, Seth Tepker said the government was in dilemma because it did not want to introduce a “second shock” which was the removal of subsidies on fuel on the citizenry.
With the 2012 elections then beckoning, the Minister did not rule out the element of political expediency in their decision not to take off the subsidies at the time.
He is however convinced the decision must be taken now. Skeptics, including former Chief Executive Officer of the VRA, Charles Wereko-Brobby have disputed government claims it is paying subsidies and have challenged the government to show the figures.
But Tepker insisted the subsidies are real and not imagined. The National Petroleum Authority boss Alex Mould who called into the show was also emphatic the government is paying subsidies on fuel.
He said even if the taxes on the fuel were removed there will still be a shortfall in terms of the cost of production of the fuel and the price at which it is sold to Ghanaians.
He said the time has come for Ghanaians to pay realistic prices for petroleum products.
But the Director of Communications of the NPP, Nana Akomea said there appears to an orchestrated attempt by government spokespersons to have fuel prices increased at all cost.
He said there is the need for transparency by government and a demonstrable evidence of subsidy being paid.
He wondered what happened to the hedging policy government invested millions of dollars to implement as well as what has become of the ex-refinery differential in which 1 cedi was illegally added to every gallon of petrol bought.