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Gov’t Does Subsidize Fuel – Kofi Adams Insists   
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Spokesperson for the Rawlingses, Kofi Adams has implored government to properly structure and run its interventions in the fuel sector in order to benefit the underprivileged in the society.

Kofi Adams emphasized during a panel discussion programme on Peace FM on Friday that the effective measure the petroleum authorities can adopt in pricing petroleum products is to first “rationalize the social interventions. So, those who are expected to benefit from it obtain their profits before we think about the total removal of subsidies on the petroleum products.”

Addressing the call for fuel subsidy removal and the brouhaha associated with the issue, he explained that the removal of the subsidies on fuel will not inure to the benefit of the vulnerable in society in the nation and so, asserted that there should be an improvement in the social interventions to curb their burdens.

He however disagreed with critics who believe government does not subsidize fuel since it uses the tax payer’s money to subvent the possibility of petroleum price increases.

According to him, government subsidizes the fuel products though the subsidy is generated from the taxes imposed on the products because “in Ghana, we don’t get money elsewhere. All the funds we have here are from Ghana. Even the grants we obtain, the money we use to amortize is from Ghana…”

He however stressed that “whatever it is that we do, we should think about Ghana.”

The National Petroleum Authority days ago stressed the need for some adjustments in fuel prices in order to augment the supply of petrol in the country.

According to Yaro Kasambata, Public Relations Officer of the NPA, they have given government up to December 2013 to remove the current subsidies on LPG, Petrol and diesel.

Though the authority is not thinking of scraping the subsidies in its entirety, it has implored government to pay GHC 2.4 billion as fuel subsidies, adding if the money is paid petroleum prices will not change.

But Kofi Adams believes Ghana has a long way to go if the figures given by the NPA to effect the changes in the pricing of petroleum are indeed real.

“If the figures churned out by the NPA in terms of fuel subsidy are true, then Ghana has a long way to go. If just last year, we spent over GHC 1 billion in subsidizing fuel and therefore this year, [it is estimated per the rate of consumption] it stays like that with dollar to cedi maybe around 2 cedi to 1 dollar and then the fuel is kept around 120 dollars per barrel, we will need almost GHC 2.5 billion to subsidize,” he said.

He therefore charged the NPA and other petroleum agencies to ensure a proper coordination of their social intervention programmes in order to lessen the plight on the under-priveleged.

He noted: “The coordination is not really effective. So, at the end of the day, what you see is the leap programme which was supposed to affect people positively, the authorities rather arrogate the benefits of the leap programme to themselves. Many other programmes, we talk of subsidy; the vulnerable who should be protected with subsidy end up suffering.”
Source: Ameyaw Adu Gyamfi/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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