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General News of Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Transport fares increment: Government is insensitive - Minority

Ranking Member on the Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament, Kwame Governs Agbodza, has described the increment of transport fares as “insensitive” on the part government especially when the country is faced with the coronavirus virus pandemic.

According to him, government should have subsidized fuel prices for commercial drivers rather than increasing transport fares and fuel prices as it would have benefitted both drivers and the passengers.

The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) announced an increment of transport fares starting July 11, 2020. This was after the Ministry of Transport approved a 15 percent hike in fares after a meeting between the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC), GPRTU, and other stakeholders.

The raise, according to the Ministry of Transport, is to cater for the losses being made as a result of implementing the social distancing protocols. It covers intra-city (trotro), intercity (long distance), truck operators and all other transports delivery services including taxis.

But the Minority in parliament insist this is not the right time to implement such a move as the country is currently challenged with COVID-19.

Mr. Agbodza suggested that government should have rather subsidized fuel prices for commercial transport operators so passengers will not have to pay higher charges for transportation.

In his view, a slash in the cost of fuel is feasible considering the huge sums of monies the government took to support businesses amidst the pandemic.

Speaking in an interview with GhanaWeb, the Legislator said “This is yet another way the NPP is showing their attitude of insensitivity to the people of this country. Despite COVID-19, this government have been handed over almost 16.5 billion Ghana cedis as part of the stabilization fund, one billion dollars from the IMF/world bank and bank of Ghana also supporting with 10 billion Ghana cedis. This whooping sum of money is outside the monies that have been borrowed already. This government is unable to show what they have done with this money. They consistently increased the price of fuel and increased transport fares. Now those who do commercial transport are struggling because prices of spare part have been going up, fuel price have been going up consistently and they have no choice.

“Because of COVID, the public transport operators can’t carry full load, they have to do social distancing, so basically, this is the final nail in the coffin on those people who depend on transportation as a means of earning a living. So this is extremely insensitive on the part of the NPP government. They have totally messed up the economy despite their stories about how they are better managers of the economy, is that what people are seeing in their transport fares?”

He added, “We called for subsidy of fuel prices when the 600 million was supposed to be used to cushion businesses, they rather went round the country to give their members 2000 cedis instead of supporting the real business.”

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