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General News of Wednesday, 15 January 2003

Source: gna

Fuel price hike is inevitable - Quashigah

Major Courage Quashigah (RTD), Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) on Monday said the expected hike in fuel prices in the country this year was prudent under the economic circumstances the country finds itself.

He said it was better for somebody whose foot was pricked by a pin to bear the pain of having it pulled out than wait for the foot to rot and be amputated.

Major Quashigah who was speaking at the Peoples Assembly in Ho on Monday said the decision might hurt now but it is better now than later.

"It makes no economic sense for Ghana to continue to subsidise fuel, which would be smuggled to neighbouring countries where fuel was sold at market prices."

The Agriculture Minister said as a result of smuggling of fuel the country's consumption of the commodity had risen by about 18 percent in recent times.

The large audience, which packed the Ho District Assembly Hall, were visibly delighted when Major Quashigah in an answer to a call for salary hikes for workers invited Mr Steve Akorli, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ho-East, to say what percentage salary increase an NDC government would have granted in the circumstances.

In reply, Mr Akorli contended that the anticipated fuel price hike coupled with tax increases necessitated about 50 percent increase in salaries.

Major Quashigah, however, said the bloated Civil Service was a hindrance to salaries management in the Public Service.

He said government was up to the task and would pursue policies with the comfort of Ghanaians in mind.

Issues addressed at the Assembly included the Aveyime Rice Project, the Aveyime Ranch and the inability of some communities to pay commitment fees for water projects.

Others are the poor state of Ho town roads, the Sogakope-Adidome-Fume road and the northern sector roads.

Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, Volta Regional Minster said the two roads leading to the northern part of the region, Kpando-Worawora-Dambai and Hohoe-Breweniase-Nkwanta roads, would be done in phases.

Mr Mawutor Goh, Ho District Chief Executive announced that five billion cedis had been provided for roads in Ho.

He explained that modifications to the previous project to include pavements and culverts which were not part of the original contract and the withdrawal of one of the contractors for the job created problems that were being tackled.

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