Ghanaians cry over high cost of living

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Many Ghanaians say they are feeling increasing hardships amid the rising cost of petroleum products and transport fares.

Amid the rising cost of petroleum products and transport fares, many Ghanaians say they are feeling increasing hardships.

The Road Transport Coordinating Council in Ghana announced a 15 percent increase in transport fares in February as the ex-pump price of petroleum products increased constantly since the beginning of this year.

Vehicles exit a gas station in Accra, Ghana, on March 22, 2022. (Xinhua/Seth)
Vehicles exit a gas station in Accra, Ghana, on March 22, 2022. (Xinhua/Seth)

Richmond Larbie, a banker who commutes between the capital Accra and the eastern port city Tema daily, told Xinhua that the additional one Ghana cedi (about 13 U.S. cents) charged fare per trip along that corridor had a rippling effect on his cost of living.

“The cost of living has increased due to higher transport fares and has reduced the general standard of living since there is no corresponding increase in incomes to compensate for the increasing fares and higher prices of general goods and services,” Larbie said.

The situation becomes critical for urban populations, many of whom change buses at least once daily before reaching their destinations.

A ticket operator checks for passengers in a street in Accra, Ghana, on March 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Seth)
A ticket operator checks for passengers in a street in Accra, Ghana, on March 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Seth)

Vivian Braimah, a secondhand clothes vendor, said the higher transport costs and commodity prices had crippled businesses and affected the incomes of traders.

“Things are even more difficult for those with children of school-going age, because with my three children, their transport costs, food subsidies, and other costs have all doubled, and families can’t even enjoy three square meals a day,” Braimah told Xinhua.

Braimah urged the government to introduce some measures to ease the hardships of citizens and lessen their plights a little.

Amid the hue and cry by Ghanaians, commercial bus drivers still have to seek further increases in their fares in line with the constant rise in petroleum prices.

“We have to start training to commute to work on foot because the transport fares may become unbearable,” said Rebecca Akordor, a clothes vendor at Makola, the central market in the CBD.

“It is no secret that our economy is going through difficult times. It is also no secret that we are not alone in this situation. Many of the phenomena we face are also apparent in many parts of the world,” Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo said late Tuesday, during a meeting with the Council of State, the constitutionally mandated advisory body to the president.

Vendors sell products in a busy street in Accra, Ghana, on March 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Seth)
Vendors sell products in a busy street in Accra, Ghana, on March 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Seth)

The president vowed that the government would make some “difficult but necessary decisions” to bring the economy back on track and lessen the impact of these challenges on the people.

Ernest Addison, the central bank governor, said Monday that the government planned to pump about 2 billion dollars into the economy through budget financing, adding he was hopeful that this action would strengthen the Ghana cedi together with monetary policy measures.

Some Ghanaians told Xinhua that they hope a stronger cedi would also reduce the impact of exchange rate depreciation on petroleum price build-up, thereby resulting in lower ex-pump prices, transportation costs, and commodity prices, to ease the harsh economic conditions in the country.

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