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General News | Feb 1, 2005

Fuel Price Increases expected

Palaver

...As Feb. 15 cometh THE Government is battling the problem of dodging its firm pledge to the World Bank and the IMF to increase prices of petroleum products by February 15, two weeks hence.

The pledge to the world's international bodies, as well as to the other development partners, was made in the "heat" of the election campaign last year.

In that pledge, the Government pleaded with the development partners to allow it to keep petroleum prices at levels, they were, since it won't be in its interest to re-adjust them in an election year.

That was when world prices of crude oil were climbing "to the skies".

Tightly cornered, the Government fixed its own date of February 15, as deadline to effect the increases, when re-elected.

However, hints being given by some top officials in the Ministry of Energy, indicate that the signals had not yet been received, pointing the way of the Government fulfilling its pledge.

"Surely, the increases will come. The problem is when it will," according to the officials.

It will be recalled that, on the assumption of power in 2001, the new NPP Administration blamed the NDC Government for "placing on ice" prices of fuel prices in the previous year (an election year).

Tonnes of insults and invectives were heaped on the NDC for what was described as "political expediency".

Indications were given that the NPP Government won't commit that kind of "blunder", when faced with a similar problem.

Meanwhile, an attempt to take cover under a proposed deregularisation policy, appears to be hitting against "a hard wall", as some of the companies don't want to be used as scape-goats. Others are disadvantaged in such a price-competion.

Now, as the youth look forward to celebrate a happy Valentine, the NPP would be facing their "anguish" and how to come out of its self-created financial quagmire.

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