Progressive Transport Owners’ Association (PROTOA) has appealed to government to institute measures to cushion the transport industry from the economic hardship occasioned by the closure of Ghana’s borders to contain COVID19.
It said government should among others, reduce fuel prices to support the commercial transport operators to stay in business as they adhered to directives, including reducing number of passengers to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Union said costs of fuel, maintenance, body parts, income tax, insurance cover, road worthy, road tolls and parking tolls still remained high and must be brought down.
Mr Benjamin Agorsu Katsekpor, Chairman of Aflao branch and acting National Chairman, PROTOA, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said government’s intervention was needed to save the industry.
“We mostly rely on the border for passengers and since the closure, no passengers. Our clients are now people who travel to Ho and other places which are indeed few. Fewer cars load the Tema-Madina-Kasoa and Accra-Kumasi… before the border closure, we were loading 50 to 52 cars daily but now, four to six.
“What’s more, we’re adhering to the Presidential directive to reduce the number of passengers and charge old fares because we’re a compliant union.
This makes some of our drivers unwilling to go for trips because they’re not breaking even meanwhile they have families to feed in addition to other financial obligations to meet in order to keep their vehicles on the road,” he added.
Mr Katsekpor said the decrease in business had implications not only for drivers but porters/bookers with the Aflao branch whose livelihood and that of their families was depended on loading of vehicles.
“We have a bargaining agreement with about 68 personnel who take charge of booking and ticketing on a shift basis.
Since we are having virtually no passengers following the closure of the borders and the subsequent partial lockdown, we gave them leave with some incentive package because nothing was happening but most of them have started coming to work now after the lockdown was lifted because staying at home and doing nothing is worse off.”
The Chairman therefore appealed to the government to consider a reduction in insurance cover for commercial vehicles, fuel price and income tax to lessen the economic burden stakeholders in the industry were facing.