06.02.2003 Feature Article

Ritual Of Fuel Prices

Ritual Of Fuel Prices
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Once again, the humble people of Ghana, who are barely surviving suddenly have to live with an astronomic increase in fuel prices in line with an uncomfortable tradition, worsening an already excruciating high cost of living in the name of prudent management of the economy.

Politicians as usual, in conformity with their characteristics always try very skillfully and find a scapegoat to inflict on the general society their own inefficiencies and incompetence. It is undeniable fact that human advancement has traveled very fast to the doorstep of almost every corner of the world, and Ghana is not an exception. Thanks to the power of education. With this in mind, politicians must understand that people can no longer be used as tools for manipulation to accomplish their selfish ends, but respected, served and treated with the dignity that they deserve.

The time is therefore more than mature for the general population of our dear nation see themselves as partners with common interest, demanding better transformation of their living standards from the managers of the system, and not to allow themselves misdirected and consumed by trivial party loyalty. Voters should unite to send a strong signal to political operators that only what voters want shall prevail for they have the power to choose who leads them.

Yes, it is clear to almost all that the debt of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) is unacceptably high and must be dealt with. But can we be proud as a nation that increasing fuel prices to almost 100% is the most equitable measure to solving the problem? I believe to an objective mind, the answer is certainly no, taking into consideration the current crushing economic situation in the country. Though views on the best panacea differ, most would agree that some adjustments are required if only to provide an adequate cushion at the bottom of the income scale, preventing economic misery of majority of our population. The managers of our country must be careful not to push majority into poverty by their policies, if not the people would democratically axe them at due time.

Looking at the position taken by government on the increase in fuel prices, attention appears to be shifting from the traditional concerns with relative income positions of the general population, to economic principle of full cost recovery, which would no doubt in the end produce social destitution. It is only right and fair that people should be taxed in line with their ability to pay. Tema Oil Refinery TOR) is the property of Ghanaians, the debt is ours and to be paid by us, so the government must be transparent in the management of the debt to clear all doubtful thoughts.

Notwithstanding, Ghanaians can only feel honoured to belong to a country where majority of the population believe that national problems should be solved through cooperation and not violent confrontation. It is therefore with pride to hear divergent views regarding the fuel price increases, as to what measure is best to solving the problem. As the unofficial debate heats on, government should open up for realistic and transparent dialogue with various interest groups to ensure continuation of social and political order the nation is blessed with. We should come together as a nation to solve this problem with our abundant God given talents as civilized people in the modern world without necessarily resorting to demonstrations, which can sometimes unintentionally turn violent. Future generations would never forgive us if we fail to be responsible enough in our dealings.

Thank you, Ahmed A. Imoro European University of Lefke North-Cyprus.

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