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Opinions of Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Columnist: Dr. Daniel Ato Aidoo

Ghana's fuel price politics

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It is true that comparatively, the average price of gasoline globally is approximately 6.80 Ghana cedis per liter, while in Ghana it is between 4.45 and 4.56 per litre, which is below the global price index.

However, I disagree with the National Petroleum Authority, that the rise in petroleum prices is just between 0.66 and 1.08 percent, using global price volatility and activation of Ghana's stabilization and recovery levy as the justification for its recent interventions and adjustment of prices.

For the "layman or laywoman" on the street, these measures or interventions will not be at par with their understanding of the global oil economy. A reduction in price will calm their aching nerves based on a promise. Nothing but a promise.

We criticized others on a fast lane and told the Ghanaian people - " Give us the power to reduce fuel prices, for our competitor does not know how to manage the economy by curtailing nuisance taxes. We worked the Maths to make a case against the previous government".

I am, therefore, surprised, the NPA's assertion that the demonstration against rising cost of fuel in Ghana is misplaced. This cannot hold as it contradicts a political party's promise to our people.

The President of Ghana cannot control every Ministry or Authority, that is why people with extensive knowledge in the industry have been placed in a position of trust to think and act for the benefit of our people.

In street economics, a government cannot justify astronomical or even minimal increase when it promised fuel price stabilization and reduction. We never foretold an increase. We promised to make it better for our tro-tro, taxi, and commercial drivers, and by default all drivers.

A government cannot continue to cry wolf and look for sympathy to justify its actions when a section of the population go on demonstration. The lesson is that a government will in the future be left standing alone when it needs help from the people.

The truth about governance and a social contract is that, when a government rolls out its programs and policies, people begin to identify slippages of authority that affect their life in diverse ways and challenge them.

If a policy or intervention is injurious to the survival of the people and cannot be justified, they become unpopular and should be altered. That is within the scope of human freedom and governments must accept that.

A word to the wise...................