The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has instructed its members to refrain from raising transport fares until a meeting is convened to assess the appropriate level of increase.

According to the union, with the significant rise in fuel prices and no corresponding increase in fares, drivers anticipate exploiting this situation to raise their fares.

In an interview with JoyNews, the Director of Industrial Relations of GPRTU, Alhaji Imoro Inusah Abass said they are not in a rush to effect the increment, however a meeting to agree on the percentage increment will come off next week.

“Whatever decision we arrive at, the transport ministry is also there to defend. We most often sit with them and argue on whatever decision we have taken. You know we do not run with only fuel, even though fuel plays the most important role, we have documentation of insurance premiums, we have lubricant spare parts also playing its role, so we have to visit all these issues and put it in one basket."

“God willing, I strongly believe we will come out with a sound percentage of which our members will embrace and the passengers should not blame anybody as such. For now, nobody should increase the fares," Mr Abass stated.

He noted that prematurely increasing prices while discussions are ongoing can cause confusion and create enmity between passengers and drivers.

"So we plead with our membership or the entire professional drivers' society to exercise patience so that we will look at the other side of the coin and come up with something better which will benefit all of us,” he added.

On March 28, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) announced the suspension of the Price Stabilization and Recovery Levy (PSRL) on price build-up on petroleum products. This froze the implementation of the levy charged on every litre of petroleum products and Kilogram of LPG from Monday, April 1 to June 30 2024.

However, NPA in early April 2024 reversed the suspension of the Price Stabilization and Recovery Levy.

The NPA in the letter directed all the Oil Marketing Companies and the other players that from April 4 2024, they should now apply 16 pesewas per litre on Petrol, 14 pesewas per litre on Diesel and 14 Pesewas on every Kg per Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

It is unclear what influenced the National Petroleum Authority to revise the suspension of the Price Stabilization and Recovery Levy.

Some drivers told JoyNews that they were already feeling the pinch of the increments and accused the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) of being insensitive.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, Duncan Amoah has urged the government to undertake reforms in the petroleum pricing formula.

According to him, they have suggested many times that a dual pricing formula should be considered.

"Now considering dual fuel pricing is to say that look, in times when prices are favourable, we could have the full stream of taxes, but in times when prices are so bad that if we allowed the pumps to just adjust, everybody will have to pay so much, cost of living baselines will go up."

He underscored the pivotal role of the government as the largest consumer in the economy.

With any increase in fuel prices, those reliant on government-supplied fuel for their daily activities will inevitably bear the burden of higher costs. Consequently, this will exert pressure on government expenditure, Mr Amoah said.

“The government will have to find money......once that happens, government's expenditure will simply be thrown overboard, and so we are thinking that the earlier they consider a dual pricing formula where when international market prices are so bullish, we ease down the taxes a bit."

"When we can accommodate the taxes then you can introduce and even add on so that the prices will be a bit balanced and stable, but as it stands we are not looking for that,” he added.

On his side, a Professor of Finance at the University of Ghana Business School, Godfred Bopkin said any attempt by the government to subsidise petroleum products will be dire for the economy.

“We should also bear in mind that the honeymoon of the IMF programme is over and therefore the reality is coming to bear, and if you look at the data from the Bank of Ghana, even from the composite index of economic activity, from business confidence index, consumer confidence index and all of that, you realised that you have seen any significant improvement," he said.

Commenting on whether there could be a way out of fuel pricing, Prof Bokpin stated, “You don’t need to be an economist or objectives to see what is going on."

"This is an election year, and yet we have all this 'dumsor' and all of that going on, if there is really anything that the government will want to do, perhaps then time is not on their side but I think that we should just brace ourselves for more challenges ahead, of course we know that the worst phase scenario we have crossed that but we are not out of the race, they are challenges ahead,” he said.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.