Fuel prices shoot up by 5-7 per cent

…As consumers protest

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Consumers of petroleum products in the country are protesting the sharp upwards adjustment in prices of the commodity at the various pump stations across the country in as the first pricing window for September begins.

The increase comes in the wake of decreasing Crude prices on the world market; current world market prices continue to hover around $47/barrel up from previous levels of around $42/barrel as at the beginning of the current pricing window.

Executive Secretary of the Chamber Of Petroleum Consumers Ghana ( COPECGH ) Mr Duncan Amoah expressed grave concerns about the swift manner with which industry players increase prices but acts reluctantly in reducing prices when they have to do so.

He also also expressed worry about price differentials of petroleum products across the various regions as a result of zonal prices where prices are quoted differently by Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) without recourse to uniformity in prices.

Mr Amoah expressed disappointment about the general lack of fairness in the system and alleged that the BDCs might also aim at punishing the system by charging high prices due to the legacy debt owed them by government.

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has also not been proactive to keep consumers updated about what to expect in terms of maximum indicative prices ahead of the pricing window.
A quick survey of the market indicates that Total, shell, Star Ghana, Cash Oil and some others have all increased their prices astronomically at the pumps whiles others are waiting on GOIL to adjust their prices.

Some are currently charging 5.18/litre and 7.6/litre for petrol and diesel respectively.

Radiance oil continues to dispense the lowest prices for petrol at 3.425/litre at 3.360/litre.
A statement Signed by the COPEC GH Executive Secretary outlined the frustrations of consumers.

According to the release, prices across the various Oil Marketing Companies went down by between 2-4% during the current fuel pricing window and have over the past one month seen some cumulative reductions of between 3-6% across most service stations.

The cedi has over the past two weeks also recorded some losses to close trading at 3.98/dollar from previous trading at the start of the current window at 3.89/dollar.

The downstream price deregulation programme continues to be closely monitored and looks likely to roll to the second phase which allows the various oil marketing companies to charge different prices at their various stations across the country though we understand the National Petroleum Authority is asking for it to be put on hold.

This second phase, when rolled out, has the tendency to cause a lot of distress and confusion as it will now completely leave the consumer to pay whatever rates the various outlets across the regions decide to charge and must not be encouraged as cost of products in places where prices will be higher will most likely affect cost of living at same.
The current uniform pricing policy serves the interests of a unified state such as Ghana and will be dangerous if tampered with.

Transport operators have served notice that this will lead to charging of different transport fares at different parts of the country depending on how cheap or expensive pump prices for those areas are and will eventually lead to not only confusion but arbitrariness and eventual fleecing.

We are, by this notice, calling for the shelling of any such moves as it will not only violate the laws of the land but also lead to complete arbitrariness in the system.

Source: CHRISTIAN KPESESE

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