Following the fuel price adjustments announced in this year’s budget, the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has put forward a plan to engage the government on price increases in transport fares.
The leadership of the union has consequently arranged a meeting with the Minister of Transport to deliberate on the announced fuel adjustments and to make a case for a corresponding increase in transport fares.
The General Secretary of the GPRTU, Mr Godfred Abulbire Adogma, disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic. He said an upward adjustment in fuel prices would take a heavy toll on the operations of members of the union and its decision to have discussions with the government.
He said the union had not arrived at any figures yet as that would be decided after the meeting with the minister, but he was confident that the government would lend an ear to the union’s propositions.
Levy on fuel
While presenting the 2021 budget in Parliament last week, the Caretaker Finance Minister, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, announced that under the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA), the government had introduced a Sanitation and Pollution Levy (SPL) of 10 pesewas on the price per litre of petrol and diesel, and a further Energy Sector Recovery Levy of 20 pesewas per litre on petrol and diesel also under the ESLA to cover the excess capacity charges that have resulted from the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).
Mr Godfred Abulbire Adogma — General Secretary, Ghana Private Road Transport Union
According to the budget statement, the implementation of the two proposed levies to pay for sanitation and pollution as well as for excess capacity charges will result in a 5.7 per cent increase in petroleum prices at the pump.
Mr Adogma expressed worry over the proposed levies, protesting that it was coming at a time when drivers and transport owners were already battling with intermittent adjustments in fuel prices.
He noted that the proposed increment in transport fares would also be aggravated by other factors such as adjustments in the prices of spare parts and charges by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).
“We are preparing to meet the Minister of Transport to look into the matter of fuel price adjustments as stated in the budget. A levy of 30 pesewas on fuel is what has been indicated and made public in the budget. Meanwhile, there are already other fuel adjustment mechanisms in place and these things put more pressure on the cost of running our vehicles.
“When we meet the minister, we will ask for uniform adjustment in transport fares. We cannot however give a figure as of now,” he said.
Mr Adogma welcomed the decision by the government to suspend the third and fourth quarter vehicle income tax instalment payments for public transport and taxis for this year to cushion transport owners against the devastating effects of COVID-19 on their operations.
He however expressed regret that the relief was only for taxis and trotros and not for all commercial vehicles.
“The decision to waive the tax for trotro and taxi is welcome, but it should have run across the board for all commercial vehicles, including those that travel long distance,” he said.