The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) has charged at the Mills administration over the recently announced increment in fuel prices announced by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).
To make matters even worse for President Mills, his allies, the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) has also added its voice to the backlash the government is reeling under over the fuel price increases. While AFAG has described the fuel price increment as ludicrous, bogus and unacceptable and a clear aberration from the social contract the government signed with Ghanaians, the CJA is of the view that the fuel increment will only exacerbate the economic hardships most Ghanaians are going through now.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, AFAG maintained that although its principles are not against fuel price increases, it believes that a government which believed that a price of GH˘5.01 for petrol at a time when the world market price of crude was US$147 was too high must not increase prices.
A leading member of AFAG, Mr Steven Amoah, who addressed the media, said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration has not justification to sell the same petrol for GH˘5.20 at a world market price of only US$79 barrel. He pointed out that during the 2008 general election when the current President was a candidate, he promised the people of Ghana a ‘drastic’ reduction in fuel prices.
He continued that President Mills must therefore be held to his promise which made him win power in the 2008 elections. “The explanation by government that the recent 5% fuel price increases have been precipitated by international crude market prices is absolutely farcical and unjustifiable,” Mr Amoah maintained.
According to him, “elementary arithmetic would prove that if US$147 gives a price of GH˘5.01 which the President considered to be too high then US$79 cannot give a higher price of GH˘5.20 unless one is using some reverse, twisted logic.” “We therefore debunk the assertion that this increase is necessitated by demand-pull factors linked to the rising world market price of crude…it is bogus and deliberate attempt to throw dust into the eyes of the people of Ghana. This is sheer propaganda and absolute perpetuation of falsehood,” Steven Amoah said.
He further stated that AFAG believes that there is enough confusion in the petroleum sector these days to warrant comment and questions. “It is no longer news that the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has not refined a single barrel of crude in the first ten months of this administration. At the same time supply of refined product on the market has been erratic at best, for the first time in eight years Ghanaians have had to queue for fuel in many parts of the country,” Amoah said.
He stated that the government must let Ghanaians know the real situation regarding fuel pricing as well as supply, adding that investigations conducted by AFAG has revealed that the only thing that was standing between TOR and the first consignment of crude from Nigeria was not outstanding debt to the oil supplier but an outstanding debt to the NDC manifesto.
Meanwhile, the CJA in a press statement signed by Mr Edward Bawa, a member of the group, says the continuous increases have come about as a result of the failure of government and the managers of the energy sector to think outside the box in order to come out with more creative ways of managing the situation.
“We have time again insisted that the practice of always passing the short fall onto Ghanaians whenever crude oil prices shoot up on the world market is not sustainable and will only serve to aggravate the suffering of the average Ghanaian,” the CJA statement charged.
According to the CJA, it is totally dissatisfied with the excuse being put up by government as these were the same excuses the New Patriotic Party (NPP) put up in government and was rejected. The CJA statement said government should also desist from buying crude oil at a spot market price and explore other options like hedging and diplomatic initiatives aimed at purchasing crude oil from friendly nations at more affordable prices.
“CJA hopes that government would immediately reverse these current increases on the various petroleum products as they are not justifiable and can only worsen the plight of the suffering masses of our dear country,” the statement said.
Source: Ghanaian Observer
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