General News of Thursday, 28 February 2013

Source: citi fm

Fuel subsidy does not exist - Dr Charles Wereko Brobby

Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby has revealed that there has never been any form of fuel subsidy in Ghana in the past twenty five years.

This comes days after government announced the removal of subsidies on fuel which has been a subject of national debate in recent times.

Speaking at the first of six lectures slated for his sixtieth anniversary celebrations, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby stated that the government of Ghana has not subsidized the prices of petroleum products since January 1989.

According to him, Ghanaians have been deceived into believing that petroleum products are subsidized.

“In recent times the discussions about petroleum pricing have been unfortunately underpinned by a lot of ignorance about the basic baseline fact and not understanding those facts has led to a lot of misconceptions about what is actually going on.”

He noted that a lot of the ignorance has been deliberately created by the political system “but it is time for us (Ghanaians) to return to sanity. I think that it is time for us to return to sanity. Government has not taken money from anywhere other than from within the petroleum basket to subsidize petroleum products prices.”

Dr. Wereko-Brobby also called for a non-partisan approach to managing the inevitable rise in fuel prices in the country.

“We need to collectively put in place a systematic and transparent mechanism so that the automatic adjustment would take place, up and down without any governmental control. I am hoping this can be done through a by partisan approach using the parliamentary committee on energy” he said.

“There are no merits in anyway whatsoever for anybody arguing that resources for school, hospitals and other social goods must be used to subsidize petroleum products” he lamented.

Meanwhile a member of IMANI Ghana Mr. Kofi Bentil has indicated that Dr Wereko Brobby’s assertions are inaccurate.

According to him, the fundamental principal behind subsidy is when one pays less than the market price of a product with someone paying the difference.

“If we are buying the thing for $10 and we are letting people buy it for $8 somebody is making up the shortfall” he said.

He debunked the allegations that Government does not pay subsidies.

According to him, “when the bills mount up and people threaten to cut the supplies, government finds money and pays”.

He emphasized that although we do not know how often that is the bottom line is that government spends money on fuel subsidy.

“Therefore the fact of the matter is that somebody is making up the shortfall for the differences between what consumers pay and what we buy it for and that person is government” he added.