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General News of Monday, 18 May 2015

Source: starrfmonline.com

TUC: Reverse fuel price hike or face backlash

Organised labour is calling on the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to reverse the 9% increase in petroleum prices.

According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the increment will aggravate the worsening living conditions of Ghanaians in this era of incessant power supply.

“The recent upward adjustment of fuel prices can never be justified in the prevailing economic circumstances. We, therefore, call on NPA to reverse the increases and engage all stakeholders for consultation on fuel pricing,” a statement signed by the secretary general of the TUC Kofi Asamoah said.

Below is the full statement:

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has announced a 9 percent increase in the price of petroleum products with effect from May 17, 2015. According to the NPA, the increase is due to the rise in FOB prices of petroleum products and the depreciation of the Ghana Cedi in terms of the US dollar and other major foreign currencies.

We recall that when crude oil prices on the international market almost halved, the NPA disregarded the adjustment formula for pricing petroleum products and denied Ghanaian households substantial savings. After a persistent outcry from the Ghanaian public, NPA only reduced fuel prices by 10 percent in January, 2015.

The recent increase has not only neutralized the positive effects of the 10 percent reduction on consumers but it has actually worsened the already harsh economic conditions Ghanaians are forced to cope with especially at this time when businesses are laying off thousands of workers because of erratic power supply and a steady rise in cost of doing business in Ghana as well as the rising cost of living.

We think that the rising crude prices and the depreciation of the cedi alone do not warrant the recent petroleum price increase as announced by NPA at the weekend. We believe that the overriding factor that has led to the increase has to do with the pressure the Bulk Oil Distributing Companies (BDCs) are putting on NPA.

We find it extremely appalling that in this period of a crippling energy crisis and its attendant debilitating effects on the economy and on the economic and social conditions of the Good People of Ghana NPA has found it convenient to increase prices of petroleum products in the interest of the so-called BDCs at the expense of the entire population of Ghana. We believe that these same BDCs are the ones preventing the full operation of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). We challenge NPA to publish the names of all the BDCs, the names of their owners and how much each of the BDCs is receiving from the supply of crude oil. Ghanaians deserve to know all about these BDCs who are cheating us and holding all of us to ransom.

The recent upward adjustment of fuel prices can never be justified in the prevailing economic circumstances. We, therefore, call on NPA to reverse the increases and engage all stakeholders for consultation on fuel pricing.

No public institution should be allowed to overburden Ghanaians with price increases and a higher cost of living especially at the time when life in Ghana has already been made so difficult due to policy failures. We, therefore, expect Government to intervene, as a matter of urgency, to avert any backlash.

KOFI ASAMOAH

SECRETARY GENERAL

May 18, 2015

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