Government is not taking issues of increased fuel prices seriously – Energy Expert

Energy expert, Kojo Poku says the current decisions taken by government imply that the Akufo-Addo-led administration does not seek to effectively address the issue of increased fuel prices.

Speaking on PM Express amidst fears of further increase in petroleum products, he stated that among the many things government has failed to do is to revise the price deregulation policy and stabilize the exchange rate.

Although, he admitted the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has taken steps to review the policy, government for him has not handled the matter as one that is of national interest.

“I don’t think the government takes this thing serious enough. I don’t think they do. We have been calling for the pricing deregulation and the pricing process to be reviewed.

“The current CEO (of the National Petroleum Authority) promised civil societies that he is going to do it and true to his word, there was a Committee that was set up. There was an engagement at Fiesta Royal last week. So you can see that the current CEO of NPA is trying to look at it.

“The reason I said I don’t think government is serious enough is that petrol is a necessity. We cannot choose not to buy. In some countries, it is a national security issue.

“There are some mechanisms government itself can take charge of. If you look at the price difference between what we were at pre-Covid, and what we are now, the price should be where it is if the dollar to the cedi had been managed. It is the biggest influencer in that price build up,” he told Evans Mensah.

He added that government has been unable to properly educate some players in the energy sector on the reasons why it has imposed some fuel taxes and levies.

Mr Poku made this submission in reaction to demands by the National Communications Officer of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Abass Moro that government scrapped the BOST marginal levy because it is irrelevant.

“You heard the gentleman on the phone that he is asking for five margins and levies to be scrapped and he mentioned BOST margin that he doesn’t know why we should pay. He is ill informed.

“Government is not even informing the populace on why he is taking some of these monies.”

According to him, should government heed to such calls and scrap the BOST marginal levy, “there is a lot that would go wrong in this country.”

His comments come at a time when government has been urged to intervene on the issue of increased fuel prices.

After the Institute for Energy Security projected that the diesel price is expected to go up marginally from the beginning of October, some Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) started adjusting their fuel prices upwards at the pumps.

Meanwhile, to mitigate the impact of the spike in fuel prices, President Nana Akufo-Addo has granted approval to zero the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levies on petrol, diesel, and LPG for a period of two months.

But the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) says government should do more by scrapping five others including the special petroleum tax and energy sector recovery levy.

“We have identified about five or six taxes and levies that we want government to strike out. We realized from May this year to October, fuel prices have gone up significantly. In May, a litre of petrol or diesel was priced GH6.08. Currently, it is around GH6.50. It has affected our business a lot,” Mr Moro bemoaned.