With only a few days gone into the introduction of a new petroleum products tax leading to an increase of fuel prices and lorry fares, questions are beginning to be asked, and many of them without answers. But perhaps the most pertinent among them is the one which wants to know on whose shoulders the burden of these taxes and fuel price hikes was intended to land.
The next question which follows the foregoing, in order of importance, is the one which wants to know who has benefitted from salary increases as an accompanying option for the increase in tax and fuel prices.
Without asking any more questions, it is clear that, in the first place, it is the ordinary Ghanaian who is neither a civil servant nor a transporter who must bear the burden of a national inflation network on all commodities.
Because of the rise in taxes and fuel prices, transport fares have equally been increased rather disproportionately and unilaterally. Because of the 15 percent lorry fare increase for passengers, market prices risk moving up rather uncontrolled.
While we see with government on the need to respond to economic logic and respect world fuel market prices, The Enquirer, however thinks the increase is too severe and does not take into consideration the weak foundation on which our economy lies.
It must be stated that developing economies are essentially subsidy-driven and any attempts to impose western patterns has calamitous consequences.
Government seems to have acted with very little concern for its people. In the circumstances, government action can easily be described as a betrayal of a population outside the ordinary person who have been living under very severe economic conditions in an economic system that is not-so-well defined to encourage private sector participation.
An economic system that is being overwhelmed with numerous taxes, power rationing and embedded with corruption at all levels.
The Enquirer wants to believe that the government went a little out of its way to impose a fuel tax increase without any consideration for those connected in the producer-consumer network and a whole circle of activities involved.
It is obvious that if government had taken the step to hold consultations with those directly concerned, an acceptable consensus would have been struck, such that will not provoke anger or disgust in any quarters.
Additionally, the government went out of its way to impose such harsh measures on the people in the very beginning of a financial year and putting it into effect just few weeks after it passed through parliament as a Bill.
We feel that a decision such as an increase in the fuel prices of fuel due to taxation on petroleum products is one which touches down on everyone within the country.
The recent consultations with stake-holders, including the trade unions and employers? unions during which all parties agreed on a minimal decrease of some of the utility tariffs, is not only belated, but will hardly offset the huge burden which the population has been forced to shoulder.
The Enquirer is of the view that, the ordinary person who neither has a private car but depend on commercial means of transport should at first be considered before any increment, be it fuel or utility.
Source: The Enquirer