Fuel Politics And Politrics
On the 4th January, 2011, TOR announced price hikes in petroleum product of between 20 to 30 percent. Passenger fares are set to go up by 18% on average. Historical trends project suggest food prices are likely to go up by 20%. The opposition political parties have all begin making serious political gains out of the price hikes and rightly so. Whiles the NDC benefitted from the Kufour led NPP government price hikes of 2008, the tables have now turn and NPP has also positioned itself to make huge political gains out of the Atta Mills led NDC government current price hikes. The vicious cycle continues with no policy proposals coming from any these political parties. Some usual Headlines: “NUGS calls for reduction of petroleum prices” GNA “AFAG: Government has 10 days to reduce fuel prices or…” “Increase in prices of petroleum products is a breach of social contract – NPP” “ NPP caucus in Parliament calls for fuel price review” Thanks to the free speech and the rapid media growth in Ghana, all the radio stations will be filed with supporters and journalist from all sides of the divide (the opposition and the government) attacking and defending the indefensible – The question is how does all these talks and headlines help the ordinary man on the street? What happens to the poor pensioner? What happens to women engage in petty trading? We believe a time has come for a national debate on fuel pricing in Ghana. A debate devoid of political games and gimmicks, a debate where we all ‘lock-in’ together with the purpose of finding a realistic lasting workable solution to the fuel pricing issue. The ordinary Ghanaian should no longer be used by politicians as tools useful only during elections or to swell support for their ultimate goal of controlling power and resources that belong to all of us. In the January 13th 2009, edition of the Daily Graphic, we put forward a brief policy proposal on fuel pricing and called on President Mills to consider subjecting the proposal to public debate. Mr President, the Hon. Members of Ghana parliament, leaders of all the political parties, the Ghanaian media, the chiefs and queens of mother Ghana, the academia, the policy institutions, , we are calling on all of you to begin a national debate that will lead to a sustainable progressive fuel pricing mechanism that safeguard the most vulnerable in our society. A mechanism that can stand the test of time, a mechanism that ensures that would be independent of political ideologies and differences. The full text is reproduce below! “ Centre for Ghana’s Progress, an online Ghanaian Think Tank blog congratulates Prof. John Atta Mills on his election as the new president of Ghana. The people of our motherland Ghana, have just given you their confidence, we wish now to send to you, the NDC party and all the people of Ghana our most cheerful congratulations. Your victory is a victory for all Ghanaians, an impressive endorsement of 16 years during which democracy and respect for the constitutional order have taken hold in Ghana, an endorsement of democracy, and a lesson for other Africa countries. Your victory re-affirms Ghana’s positions as a beacon of hope for Africa. Mr President, we know the task ahead of you is not an easy one, but we believe in your ability and capability as a leader to unite the nation and move Ghana forward. We welcome your call for a ‘United Ghana’ where all talents are given the chance to contribute constructively towards the Nation Building Project and call on all Ghanaians to give you all their support, rally behind you and help move Ghana forward. Mr President, in the spirit of moving Ghana forward, we have a policy suggestion to make on a very important topic – ‘fuel pricing’ and urge your government to subject this to public debate and give it serious consideration. We wish to propose a dual fuel pricing system, one for the commercial drivers and the second for private transport owners. How will this work? A. All drivers should pay the full commercial price at the point of purchase. B. All registered commercial drivers, at the end of every month, would be requested to submit their receipts of purchase and accounts to the tax office for cash backs or what we can simply call tax credit. Effects: 1. Through this tax credit system, the mechanism can help control prices on lorry fares and other forms of commercial transportation systems. 2. Through this tax credit system, the government will be able to bring in more people into the income tax paying bracket. All the commercial drivers will be roped into the income tax paying bracket thereby expanding the tax base of the country. 3. The system will also immediately result in the creation of at least 5,000 new jobs for HND Accounting and book keeping graduates who have completed their various programmes of study but cannot find jobs. 4. When prices of goods and services are kept at reasonable levels, it will also be beneficial to all Ghanaian. Yes, Ghana does not have an efficient public transportation system but as a Group, we have critically looked at the systems and facilities we have in Ghana and strongly believe Ghana is ready and the time is now for a dual fuel pricing system. The above represents a brief outline of the policy proposal. We are willing and ready to help discuss this proposal further. Our members are ready to lend their support and to make available details of how this policy can be designed and implemented successfully in Ghana. God Bless Mother Ghana.” Government cannot and should not continue to subsidies fuel for the well off in the society. Why should government subsidies fuel someone riding in a $50,000.00 SUV? We need to get the balance right; the time to start a serious national debate is now. We can no longer continue doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.
Source: Centre for Ghana’s Progress
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