No cash, no gas, no light

…As increased fuel & transport prices grace New Year

With Daniel Nonor

People in a queue for gas on Christmas day

Just after managing with a cashless Christmas, spiced with acute gas and water shortages, and erratic power supply during the festive season, Ghanaians have again been snared with fuel prices increase, which has subsequently affected transport fares.

Gas oil and gasoline have seen up to 30% rise in ex-pump price, while LPG rose to 25%.

Effectively, the price of a gallon of Petrol now sells at GH¢6.89 from a previous price of GH¢5.26, while Diesel inched up to GH¢ 6.91 from GH¢5.31, LPG to 104.76 from GH¢83.81 per kilogram.
Meanwhile, the prices of kerosene and premix fuel have, however, been left unchanged. Transport fares have also been subsequently been increased by 18 per cent. On the eve of Christmas, most Ghanaians complained of hard economic time, with money hard to come by, while others complained of low sales which greeted the season.

Many, however, made light the seriousness of the economic situation by calling for the postponement of the Christmas celebrations to a later date, until the economic situation normalised.

It was no wonder that most Ghanaians could not afford a common chicken, which cost as high as GH¢20 and GH¢30 during the festivities.                                                                                     While most Ghanaians contended with the difficult economic situations, their problems were compounded with acute gas and power shortages.

Most people had to queue for days during the yuletide for LPG gas, which run dry at most filling stations, while others have to salvage what they could from their food stock, which were going bad due to lack of electricity.

Then just as Ghanaians were taking a breather from the problems of the festive season, they have woken up to increased fuel and transport fares.                                                                                                                    The National Petroleum Authority has however justified the increases stating that “these changes to the ex-pump price are inevitable due to the constant rise to crude oil on the world market.”

“From a modest $75 per barrel about fourteen months ago, prices of crude have reached $92 per barrel mark by December, 2010. The obvious spread, which is about 23 % has necessitated a rise to the ex-pump price,” it noted

Another factor which necessitated the increase, according to the NPA, is the TOR debt recovery levy, which Parliament approved before Christmas. The objective will be to retire debts owed by the country’s only refinery.

The levies have gone up from 2.8 pesewas per litre for petrol and 2.5 pesewas per litre on Diesel. Secondly, Distribution margins have also gone up by 4 % with BOST margins are also up from GHp 2.25 per litre to GHp3 per litre, and Primary Distribution Margins are also up by 2.5 per litre from 1.0 per litre.

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