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General News Wed, 22 Jan 2003

Workers walk to work due to high taxi fares

Tamale (Northern Region) - Many residents of the Tamale municipality have resorted to walking to their workplaces due to the high taxi fares drivers are now charging as a result of the recent hike in fuel prices.

The worst hit includes government workers and school children, a good number of who are now walking to and from their workplaces and schools respectively. A survey conducted by the GNA in the municipality showed that taxi fares have gone up by 100 per cent, which workers and parents interviewed said they could ill afford, after the Christmas and New Year expenses.

For instance, taxi fare from the Tamale Teaching Hospital to the taxi rank that used to be 700 cedis, is now 1,500. At the Tamale-Yendi station, Mr Sumani Yakubu, chairman of the local branch of the GPRTU told the GNA that the fare was previously 5,000 cedis but this had been increased to 10,000 cedis.

He explained that when the drivers refused to accept to charge 8,000 cedis as proposed by the GPRTU, passengers on their own volition agreed to pay an extra 2,000 cedis to enable them to get vehicles to their destinations.

Meanwhile the union executive of the taxi branch of the GPRTU have appealed to the government to adjust transport fares from the proposed 30 per cent to 70 or 80 per cent.

They complained that it was unfair for the government to adjust fares by only 30 per cent while fuel prices have risen by 95 per cent. They noted that insurance premium is now 665,000; a second-hand tyre sells between 80,000 cedis and 100,000 cedis while engine oil has gone up to 80,000 cedis a gallon.

Some market women interviewed said they were waiting for the stock of their old foodstuffs to get finished before they would increase prices when they bought new commodities.

However, a kilo of beef, which sold at 5,000 cedis is now 6,000 cedis. The butchers told the GNA that they now pay 20,000 cedis to transport a cow from the cattle ranch to the slaughterhouse instead of the 10,000 they used to pay.

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Other workers interviewed appealed to the government to implement a cost of living allowance (COLA) to cushion the effects of the hike in fuel prices on the living conditions of workers

Source: GNA
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