THE RECENT price increases in petroleum products have undoubtedly opened an economic and financial Pandora's Box for most residents in Kumasi whose pockets have been sharply affected by the move.
With the unstable trend in the price of crude oil on the international market, they are also panic-stricken for further hikes in petrol prices by the end of this year as predicted, should the current price hit the 100-dollar mark.
In a 'vox-pop' interview with a cross-section of residents, though majority of respondents acknowledged the increase was not the making of government, they wished government could do something to mitigate the effects and suggested either subsidy or tax reduction as one of measures that can be applied.
The interviewees believed that what is happening in the Middle East is having a serious toll on their living conditions, but expected it to change in the near future because it is only a toss-up thing.
They have therefore appealed to government to offload some of the taxes on fuel for the meantime to bring relief to the citizenry and probably plough them back in future when crude oil prices come down.
Mr. Adjei, a pensioner who resides at Adiebeba in Kumasi, said he had had to park his car in the face of the recent increases since he could not afford to buy ¢100,000 petrol every day.
He told The Chronicle in an interview that he had no option than to succumb to the dictates of the economy regardless of his social standing and status, adding that government should find a way out of this present situation because experts say it is possible to reduce the taxes on fuel.
Ms. Gloria Amponsah Sarpong of North Suntreso said the petrol price hike with its corresponding increase in transportation fares had greatly affected farmers who convey their produce to the city centres for sales.
According to Gloria, her visit to Brekum, her hometown, had revealed that many foodstuffs were locked up at various farms because their owners could not afford transportations cost.
She believed if nothing were done to ameliorate the purported prevailing situation, many angry citizens would have an axe to grind with the government of the day and that the people's anger could be visited on the government during the 2008 elections.
Mr. Daniel Asante Nketiah of Ahensan Estate said the increment was not a problem though it would be unacceptable if workers' salaries were not adjusted to cushion the effect of the hikes.
He stated further that when prices of petroleum products go up, it is the poor in society who feel the pinch most, and urged government to come out with a relatively good policy against future hikes instead of always resorting to the use of passing on the increase to the Ghanaian consumers.
Mr. Addai, a second-hand shoe seller at Adum near the regional office of the Electricity Company of Ghana, also shared similar sentiments with the various interviewees.
He believed that the effects from the world crude oil price could be mitigated if more employment opportunities were created for the unemployed members of society with meaningful take-home salary to cater for their families.
However, the minority group in the opinion sampling survey played politics with the issue; thus blaming the NPP government for the country's woes and describing the increment as a policy of insensitivity.
They also scolded the government for what they termed as "doing little to improve living conditions of Ghanaians", saying the officials of the present administration were living in a cool, silky-comfort environment at the expense of the poor who had been asked to tighten their belts to bite the bullet.