Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has appealed to Government to remove the taxes on petroleum products now that price of crude oil is above 100 dollars. It said it was the responsibility of Government to ensure that effects of the high prices on petroleum products were minimised locally.
Mr Kofi Asamoah, Acting Secretary-General of GTUC, made the appeal at the 2008 Quadrennial Delegates Conference of General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers' Union at Bunso in East Akyem District last Thursday. The three-day conference is under the theme 'Petroleum Downstream Deregulation: The Impact on Transport and Petro-Chemical Industries in Ghana- The Role of Stakeholders.'
Mr Asamoah said the frequent increases in prices of petroleum products was having negative effects on the living standards of majority of people adding 'This has implications for the poverty reduction agenda we have set for ourselves as a country.'
He said the union had on various occasions drawn the attention of policy-makers to the need for some level of regulation to address the market failures that usually accompanied such deregulation policies and urged Government to hold a meeting of stakeholders to review petroleum policies.
On the labour front, Mr Asamoah said despite efforts of the union to ensure workers were well catered for, their salaries continued to rank among the lowest on the Continent, while a large majority of them were still outside the union.
'Many of them continue to face challenges of job and income insecurity; and a tiny fraction of the Ghanaian workforce is covered by the National Social Security,' he added.
He therefore, called for unity at the labour front to be able to deal with those challenges.
Mr John Attafuah, Chief Executive Officer of National Petroleum Authority said deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector was to encourage private sector participation.
He said participation of the private sector and the consequent growth would make the sector employ more people and the union to increase its membership. Mr Attafuah said it was estimated that with the licensing of about 20 new Oil Marketing Companies since 2005 about 5,000 new jobs might have been created.