Fuel Pricing - Ghana's Economic Cancer

Fri, 25 Feb 2011 Source: Panford, Kwamina Mbra

A few weeks ago I was discussing with a friend how well the Mill’s gov’t had done holding down the price of fuel in Ghana for about a year. Lo and behold, the Gov’t came out with a big bang to fiscally disorient Ghanaians with 30% increase on fuel prices that reverberated throughout the whole economy.

The price increase clearly demonstrated to Ghanaians that our govts. do not care about their people. The Kuffour gov’t did the same thing. It is very painful to realize that there’s no difference between the NDC and NPP gov’t. Everybody in Ghana knows that the economic survival of every Ghanaian (except the politicians and gov’t officials) hinges on fuel prices and yet the leaders don’t show any compassion when they shoot up the prices. Both the Kuffour and Mills gov’t had claimed they could not subsidize fuel anymore. How do you subsidize a product that already has 12 gov’t levies on it?

The truth about petrol-pricing in Ghana is that the gov’t and her agencies use 40% of fuel in Ghana and the rest of the country uses 60%. The rest of the country that uses 60% pays the 100% cost of the fuel. The previous and present govts. have been fiscally lazy and uncaring. I say “lazy” because jacking up fuel prices has been the easiest way of collecting revenue to pay for the unrestrained expenditure. They do not make any attempt to cut down their costs nor improve the efficiency of gov’t operation. When President Mills directed that all gov’t agencies cut their fuel consumption by 30% as soon as he assumed his office, I said “wow, we now have a leader who cares” If the President had followed up on this directive we would not have been in the financial hole at TOR(Tema Oil Refinery).

I am appealing to all Ghanaians (including myself) to stop the pretension that NDC and NPP are different. We vote them into power and then what? We have to start “heating” our leaders. Can you believe the President Mills wants all CEPS (Custom & Excise Protective Services) personnel to declare their assets? Great, but can we ask our president if he has managed to get even his Ministers to publicly declare their assets? Yes, as a lot of other Africans have been saying “you Ghanaians are lucky”. We have patriots like Anas Aremeyaw Anas risking their lives to help us get a decent govt. Anas’ effort will go for naught if we don’t follow- up. We all make some noise, express our indignation and then the stinker fizzles. What happened to Muntak Mubarak ( ex-NDC Sports Minister) who took his girlfriend to the football tournament at public’s expense or Jake Obetsebi Lamptey who tried to sell a govt. bungalow to himself (against the law) and now is the Chairman of the NPP?

Our leaders have been pushing the average Ghanaian’s back to the wall. The 30% fuel price is a cruel and unusual economic punishment on the ordinary Ghanaian. Do you know that Ghana got only a net of $54 million from all our mineral revenues including gold and diamonds in 2007? Our leaders have been selling us out. We have to start pushing back. The parliamentarians want to be paid $5000.00 a month. Go Figure.

Kwamina Mbra Panford

Columnist: Panford, Kwamina Mbra