The Minority in Parliament has served notice it will haul the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, before the House to present government’s response plan to end the hikes in fuel prices.
According to the Minority, the Finance Ministry has the authority to remove some taxes that contribute to the final ex-pump fuel prices.
In less than two weeks, the prices of diesel and petrol have increased by over 30 per cent and are selling at ¢8.29 at the pumps.
Commenting on the development, a Member of Parliament’s Energy Committee, Edward Bawa, has blamed the government for not doing enough to cushion Ghanaians against the hardship caused by the rise in fuel prices.
“I will file an urgent question to the Minister of Finance. The reason is that if you look at the three factors that affect the ex-pump price, two of them are within the domain of the Minister of Finance. That is the issue of taxes and the issue of managing the cedi.”
“He will be in the position to be able to tell Ghanaians what the position of the government is with regards to the [fuel prices]. I think there are certain taxes that if you take them off, it will not affect the services for which they are supposed to finance.”
Public transport operators have effected a 15 per cent increment in transport fares in response to the changes in fuel prices.
Barely a week after the fuel adjustment, experts in the petroleum sector have predicted that the commodity will hit ¢9 by the end of March.
Executive Director of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), Duncan Amoah, has warned the military invasion of Ukraine can make things worse in the coming days.
“It will take government almost 11-12 months to realise that it has overshot its expenditure because it sat unconcerned. Things are going to get worse.”
“We would hit nine before March comes to an end. It is the easiest calculation anybody could do. Ukraine and Russia don’t seem to be ending any moment soon,” he revealed.
This prediction has already gotten consumers worried with mounting pressure on government to subsidise the product with part of the Price Stabilisation Fund.
The Head of Pricing at the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Abass Ibrahim Tasunti, says the NPA has presented some proposals to Cabinet for consideration.
“We have made some recommendations to the government as to what it can do, but it all depends on the government’s fiscal space. For us, we look at what can be done to look at the laws available to us.
“Of all the taxes, which one could have been touched? From the law, the Price and Stabilisation and Recovery Levy is the one that could have been used to support the consumer. Our work is to make sure there is fair pricing.”
Meanwhile, the Energy Ministry has said Ghanaians will pay back whatever government spends as subsidies.
According to the Deputy Minister, Andrews Agyapa Mercer, this calls for a conversation that ought to be had among stakeholders as the country strives to fashion out a solution to the problem.
“It’s a process that has commenced. The NPA has sent the letter to us, and we’ve forwarded it to the appropriate authorities; it’s going to be deliberated, and then whatever decision is taken is definitely going to be in the best interest of all of us.”
“If that decision is taken that government has to subsidise fuel, we all ought to know that post the issues being resolved, prices coming down, whatever amount of money government would have expended would still have to be paid back by all of us,” he said.
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