Gomoa West MP whines over high petrol prices

The Member of Parliament for the Gomoa West Constituency, Mr Richard Gyan-Mensah, says the price of petroleum products in Ghana are the highest among neighbouring countries like Ivory Coast, Togo and Burkina Faso.

According to Mr Gyan-Mensah, while a litre of petrol is sold at 1.175 USD in Ivory Coast, $1.061 in Togo, and $1.127 in Burkina Faso, the same product is sold at the cost of $1.384 in Ghana.

Explaining further, he indicated that the price of a litre of diesel cost $0.999 in Ivory Coast, $1.297 in Togo and $1.03 in Burkina Faso, but cost $1.807 in Ghana.

MrGyan-Mensah made this known in a statement he delivered in parliament on Friday, November 18, 2022 on the effect of the recent persistent hikes in petroleum products in the country.

Addressing the Speaker, he said “The recent hikes in the prices of petroleum products in Ghana are gradually becoming the most dreaded nightmare confronting Ghanaians.

Petroleum products such as petrol, diesel, LPG, premix, etc., have become crucial components of our lives as Ghanaians. The Ghanaian economy virtually survives on petroleum products”.

Lending more credence to his statement, Mr Gyan-Mensah stressed that prices of petroleum products have been the driving force behind the general prices of goods and services, mostly transport fares and food prices.

According to him, data from the National Petroleum Authority website indicated that between January 1999 and September 2022, Ghana consumed 65,535,805.37 metric tonnes of petroleum products.

This, he explained, illustrated how crucial petroleum products have been to the life of the ordinary Ghanaian and wondered what exactly could be the reason behind the recent persistent price hikes in petroleum products.

“Mr Speaker, a bag of sachet water now costs between GH₵10.00 and GH₵15.00 – up from GH₵ 6.00 in October. Mr Speaker, bottled and sachet water producers have increased prices due to rising fuel prices. The situation is pitiful and poses a serious national security threat,” he said.

The weakening cedi is our bane

He stated that government in the beginning of the year blamed external factors, mainly the COVID-19 pandemic challenges and the Russia-Ukraine war as being responsible for the astronomical increase of prices of petroleum products.

“However, a detailed assessment showed that government-controlled variables, such as taxes and levies on petroleum products and the weakening strength of the Ghana Cedi”, he indicated, “were mainly responsible for the persistent fuel price hikes.”

The depreciation of the local currency against major foreign currencies, which has sharply moved from a dollar to GH₵ 6.02 in January to GH₵13.08 per 1 USD in November, this year, was what kept worsening the prices of petroleum products.

Failure of the Central Bank of Ghana (BoG)

Following the massive depreciation of the cedi, he said, substantial amount of US dollars was always required by the Bulk Oil Distributing Companies (BDCs) to import petroleum products.

However, the Bank of Ghana, he alleged, has not been able to auction sufficient US dollars as required therefore, the BDCs are compelled to buy US dollars on the open market at a rate higher than the Bank of Ghana’s rate of GHC 13.08 to USD 1.00.

Effects on MPs’ work

According to Mr Gyan-Mensah, Members of Parliament have also been adversely affected by the tenacious increase of fuel in the country, because the high cost of fuel impeded their effectiveness at their various constituencies.

“As an MP, it used to cost me GHC 560.00 to fuel my Toyota Fortuner (2.7-liter engine) while driving from Accra to my constituency, Gomoa West, a few months ago,” he disclosed.

“Because of the recent price increases in petroleum products, I now have to pay a whopping GH₵1,300.00 every weekend to fill up the same vehicle used to perform parliamentary duties in the constituency,” he added.

This amount, he mentioned, did not include weekday fuel costs to Parliament and wondered how much an MP from Nandom, which is 830 km from Accra, would spend on fuel to visit the constituents on weekends.

Impact on National Service Personnel

Mr Speaker, a National Service Personnel posted to the Parliament of Ghana and live in Tabora (one of the closest localities to Parliament), will need to pay GHC 36.00 a day (GHC 720.00 a month) to commute to and from Parliament,” he stated.

He added, “Sadly, National Service Personnel only receives GHC 559.00 per month as an allowance. This means the person will have to borrow an additional GHC 170.00 a month for transport alone”.

Transportation from Kwame Nkrumah Circle to Parliament House, which cost GHC 5.00 two weeks ago, he said, now costs GHC 7.00 and queried how National Service Personnel in that bracket would be able to buy food, clothing and pay for accommodation.

To help curtail the situation to ameliorate the plight of the citizenry, he proposed to government to among others, subsidise prices using revenue from the crude oil windfall profits.

Additionally, government, he said, should suspend petroleum taxes and levies until the price per litre falls below GHC10.00 and ensure BDCs have a stable supply of foreign currencies to import more fuel to meet growing national demand.


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