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Ripples From Dirty Petroleum Pricing Politics…TUC EXPOSES GOV’T
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Kofi Asamoah, TUC Boss
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It is very uncommon for the leadership of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), to officially contradict government’s statements or posturing but last week, the labour union issued a comprehensive statement distancing itself from the much condemned fuel price hikes disclosing that it was not consulted before the announcement by the National Petroleum Authority(NPA).

"We would like to place on record that contrary to what the government and its functionaries would have Ghanaians believe, organised labour was never consulted on the current petroleum price increase," TUC disclosed in a press statement issued days after the price hikes were announced last week.

It also downplayed the impression being created by some government functionaries before and after the increases that the removal of the supposed petroleum subsidy was as a result of the severe impact public sector wage was having on the national kitty.

"We strongly condemn the attempt by public officials to blame public sector workers for policy failures. We were all witnesses to the changes in government spending, particularly in the months leading up to the 2012 general election," it said.

"The notion that public sector pay is consuming about two-thirds of national revenue and has become an albatross on the neck of government has been pushed to levels where the TUC can no longer keep mute over it. The TUC believes that about half of the over GHc 9 billion that is said to be spent on public sector pay is actually being spent on the emoluments, including arrears and pecks, of political office holders”, it stated further.

Giving the genesis of the meeting with President John Mahama which took place on 15th February 24, 2013, prior to the fuel price increases, the TUC said the President informed them of the government's intention to increase fuel prices which in their view could not be termed as a consultation.

"We do not consider this to be a consultation. We have assured the government of our readiness to dialogue over issues of national importance. But we take a very serious view of a situation where the government gives the impression that it has consulted organised labour when, in fact, no such consultation has taken place. Consultations on such important national issues must be genuine," the statement said.

On the performance of the beleaguered Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), the TUC said it suspected some unseen hands were deliberately trying to run down TOR in order to make a case for its privitisation.

"As it is, TOR is suffering the fate that has befallen all important state assets — run it down in preparation for privatization,", it observed.

It continued that, "There are too many players in the petroleum industry profiting at the expense of ordinary Ghanaians. The petroleum products price build-up contains as many as six different margins designed to benefit a few owners of marketing companies and other players in the industry. The relevance of some of these players is difficult to tell".

The TUC therefore resolved to resist any attempt to privatize TOR.
Source: Gordon Asare-Bediako/New Crusading Guide/Ghana

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