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Business News of Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Source: Petroleum Consumer Choice Awards

Petroleum Deregulation: Confusion to escalate over transport fares

Few days ago, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) announced the start of the full deregulation of petroleum products from June 15, 2015, in what it believed is the right way to go. This simply means the NPA will not be involved in the pricing of petroleum products effective June 15, 2015.

Importers, Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs), and Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) will be allowed the free hand to price their own products, and so what we are likely to see from June 15 are different petroleum prices at different branded services stations across the country.

So what happens to transportation fares for commercial vehicles now that petroleum prices may be different at different branded services stations? As key observers of the relationship between the petroleum downstream and motorists, we do not fail to recognize the confusions and fights that follow the announcement of new (even same) petroleum prices every time.

Usually, the public not well informed on changes in transport fares against indiscipline commercial motorists that would want to misinterpret fare changes to suit their gains. We are therefore heading to the conclusion that we are going to have an escalation of these confusions and fights on our roads now that we having this new regime at hand.

What is the public information and road map for transport fare pricing now that we are entering this deregulation regime? What public engagements are happening to ensure an informed public on transport fare pricing and discipline on the part of commercial vehicles before June 15 and beyond?

Indeed, a two-day exercise undertaken by the PCCA Ghana research team in Greater Accra alone gathered that the many commercial motorists had no idea about the implications of this policy on their daily business activities.

Therefore in order to avoid surprise effects on commercial motorists which can also degenerate into fights and confusions with passengers, we call on the appropriate stakeholder authorities to start acting on this matter now.

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