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17.03.2009 Regional News

Some Tema residents condemn fuel reduction… Say it was unnecessary

By Richard Kofi Attenkah, Tema - Ghanaian Chronicle
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Residents in the Tema Metropolis have expressed mixed feelings over the recent reduction in fuel prices in the country, by President John Evans Atta Mills.

While a few of them were commending the President for honouring his campaign promise to Ghanaians, the majority of them believe that the decrease was not necessary, because transportation fares are still unchanged.

According to them, the only beneficiaries of this action are the drivers, since they buy the fuel at a cheaper price, but do nothing about the fares they charge, blaming their action on the percentage reduction.

What therefore was the use of the President reducing fuel prices when the people, who are the ordinary Ghanaians, on whose account the fuel prices were slashed, cannot benefit from the action? they queried.

Speaking in an interview with the paper, a clearing agent at the Tema Port, Samson Acquah, admitted that it was true the President promised to reduce the prices of fuel drastically when he comes to power, but he did not think it was necessary for him to do it just because he had promised.

He said even though the President had done his part by reducing the prices, it was not effective, and so it would have been better if 'sleeping dogs were allowed to lie.'

According to Mr. Acquah, he was sure that come what may, drivers would never reduce their fares, adding that they would continue to benefit from this reduction, and live on the pockets of the unfortunate individuals in the country.

Jennifer Atana, a 'Space-to-Space' operator at the Tema Community Centre, said that it was very good of the President to have fulfilled his promise of reducing fuel prices, adding, “This shows us that he is a man of truth.”

She disclosed that there were some drivers who had started to charge little less than the old prices when they offer services, and so there was no doubt that the rest would soon follow, and all these problems would be solved.

She called on residents of Tema to exercise patience for the President, and allow him to run the country as he deems fit, since constant pressures on him could make him commit grave mistakes in the near future.

Kodjo Ofei, who is a taxi driver in the Metropolis, said it was true that the prices of fuel had been reduced, but it was not their fault for not reducing their fares, because they wouldn't know how much to charge, since the percentage of reduction was too small, and so if they reduced fares things would just be complicated.

According to him, the fact that fuel prices had been reduced did not mean customers should insult them when they collect the normal fares.

He appealed to the government to do something about the situation, since the insults were becoming unbearable. He suggested that the government should organise lectures or even place adverts on television, in order to explain to the public why drivers could not reduce fares as a result of the small percentage decrease.

Eugene Oduro, a freelance journalist based in Tema, said it was the duty of ex- President Kufuor to reduce the fuel prices last year when other countries did so, and so he did not understand why he waited until the run-off period to do so.