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General News of Monday, 30 March 2020

Source: GNA

Coronavirus: Drivers appeal for a reduction in fuel prices


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As lockdown takes effect Monday, some drivers and station masters in Accra, have appealed to government to compel Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), to reduce fuel prices at the pumps to enable them to meet their daily targets.

This, they said, was to give them some form of relief and to make up for the extra loss they would incur should they reduce the number of passenger intake.

This followed a call made by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Friday, March 27, urging drivers and station masters to reduce the number of passengers they took effective Monday, March 30, as part of measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), on Sunday during a visit to some lorry terminals in and around the Central Business District, some station masters said, though they have begun implementing the directive, drivers would be much grateful if fuel prices at the various pumps could be reduced to ease their plight.

“On Saturday, we began implementing the directive issued by the President and subsequently by our leaders at the Ghana Private Roads Transport Union (GPRTU). And so we reduced the number of passengers per seat and we did not charge extra fare because of that. This, however, brought agitation among the drivers and the authorities because according to them fuel prices at the pumps continue to remain the same, Mr Oscar Denel Doku, Station Master, Accra-Aflao, Tudu said.

“We appeal to the government to ensure that the prices of fuel at the pumps are reduced and we believe that this will reduce the extra burden and losses drivers might incur as a result of this directive.”

Mr Ruben Adzewoda, Station Master, Accra to Sokagope-Tefle Station, also said drivers would lose should prices of fuel remain the same adding that they were unsure how many passengers they could get when the lockdown was in full force.

“Already, the number of passengers on the street are going to reduce greatly because of the lockdown. People won’t make a lot of travels during the lockdown, coupled with the reduction in passenger intake and so we will lose so much if the prices of fuel continues to remain the same at the pumps,” he said.

Meanwhile, some lorry terminals visited by the GNA showed mass departure of people from the capital.

The usually quiet lorry terminals on weekends were inundated with travellers and their luggage, as they waited anxiously to depart the capital.

Mr Noah Tormeti, a driver who plies the Accra-Aflao road, said he was overwhelmed with the number of passengers trooping to the station to catch vehicles to their various destination.

“I normally work from Monday to Saturday but I have been compelled to work on Sunday because of the number of people who are still coming in today. Yesterday the numbers were overwhelming, many could not get vehicles to their destinations and so they have returned today to ensure that they depart before the lockdown takes effect,” he said.

On Friday, March 27, President Nana Akufo-Addo announced a 14-day partial lockdown of some parts believed to be the hot zones for the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus.

The directive, which takes effect Monday, March 30, would affect areas such as Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Obuasi and part of Awutu-Senya East Municipality (Kasoa).

Ghana has so far recorded 152 cases of the COVID-19 with five deaths and two recoveries.

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