The Transport Ministry announcement a 15 percent increment in transport fares starting Saturday, July 11, however, public transports have already began charging new fares, and in some instances, far exceeding the agreed 15%.
Public transport owners have observed that government’s social distancing directive means they are unable to make ends meet, particularly when the price of fuel is escalating. We believe that has prompted the Transport Ministry to review fares upward to cushion the plight of public transport owners.
Our problem is that we were led to understand that the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) was expected to release new transport fares this Saturday, July 11 once approval was sought but the sudden announcement has given the impetus to transport owners to start charging what they want since many, we learn, are not in agreement with the 15% hike in fares but feel a 30% upward adjustment reflects the true picture on the ground.
Ghanaians should therefore brace themselves for a general increase in most goods and services since transport fares are used as a base to determine by how much goods rise in the country. That is why we are not surprised that the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers has asked the Transport Ministry to immediately rescind its decision.
“Things only go up in this country without a corresponding remedy to bring it down when the factors or conditions necessitate it coming down and that for us is problematic and so we do not support these increases we are seeing”, Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah stated.
To be fair, he has a strong point because if the petroleum deregulation policy is really at play, then we should have seen a corresponding reduction in the price of fuel when crude on the world market was as low as US$20.
That is not to say the upward adjustment is unjustified since transport owners have borne this social distancing directive for quite some time and they are not included in government’s stimulus package, so if the price of the commodity has gone up, they are right to demand an upward adjustment.
Our problem is that the Transport Ministry is unable to enforce its own directives as transport owners have defied their timelines and have even instituted their own margin of increase. Then it would have been better not for the Ministry to announce such directives as it is being abused.