Transport unions in the country have unanimously increased transport fares by 20% effective Monday, May 17.
A coalition of transport unions disclosed this development after discussions with the government following an increase in fuel prices due to tax hikes.
“The increase has become necessary in view of the number of taxes on fuel announced by the Government in the 2021 budget and was subsequently approved by Parliament,” the Ghana Committed Drivers Association, International Drivers Road Transport Union, Truth Drivers Union and the Concerned Drivers Association said in a joint statement.
The group said the tax slapped on fuel products has taken effect for more than two weeks now and it can’t wait any longer.
According to them, a gallon of fuel that used to be sold at the pump for GHC 24.52 pesewas is now sold at GHC 27.22 pesewas.
Also, prices of spare parts and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) charges have shot up considerably, they lamented.
With these developments, “if we delay any further in increasing lorry fares by at least 20%, our transport business will collapse”.
They pointed out that they have factored customers’ financial difficulties into the calculation, and so the public should meet them halfway.
“Our dear customers and the general public must know that we have absorbed a lot of the petroleum products price increases for a long time and have gotten to a stage where we can no longer contain it,” the statement added.
As of 2016, a gallon of fuel, for instance, was between GHC 14.000 and GHC 16.00. Since 2017, the prices have increased astronomically to the current GHC 27.22 pesewas, but without the corresponding increases in lorry fares, the group explained.
They pointed out that the strict implementation of the deregulation of the petroleum products sub-sector since 2012 has meant that the government no longer subsidises petroleum products except premix fuel.
“However, the same government has found it to be a convenient and easy way of generating revenue by imposing new taxes and increasing existing taxes on petroleum products”.
The group is not part of the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC), which, together with the government, have been fixing percentage increases in lorry fares.
The group revealed that the GPRTU, for some time now, has pulled out of the Council and now joined the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and has since been negotiating with the government for an increase in lorry fares on its own.
By :Stella Annan |myactiveonline.com