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19.02.2005 General News

Mixed-reaction to fuel increment in Accra

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Accra, Feb. 19, GNA - Few hours after the announcement of fuel price increases by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, the long queues at filling stations in the Accra Metropolis have vanished, a GNA survey has revealed.

Also many filling stations, which had displayed "No Petrol" signs during the day quickly removed them and started selling the products at the new prices.

In separate interviews, drivers and passengers said that they suspected hoarding of petroleum products by some station managers in anticipation of the price increases.

This therefore, created artificial shortages hours before the announcement.

In a related development, many commercial bus and taxi drivers upon hearing the increment unilaterally increased their charges, creating near confusion at some lorry stations in Accra.

Some passengers at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle refused to pay the "illegal" fares imposed by the drivers, arguing that it was not right for the drivers to announce their own fares ahead of any official announcement to that effect.

Some of the drivers the GNA spoke to said once the government increased fuel prices, they had to transfer the cost to the passengers. "My brother I have to fill my tank at the close of business and the only way to do so is to increase the fare."

At Abeka in Accra, there was a near fight when some passengers challenged a Nissan LT Bus Driver operating that route to Accra, when he attempted to impose a 200 cedis increment on them .

The driver explained that he informed the passengers of the new fares before they boarded the vehicle.

While some passengers said they expected the new fares to be charged from next week, others claimed they were not aware of any increment in the price of petroleum products and therefore cannot pay any additional fare.

The Government on Friday announced new fuel prices: Premium Petrol now sells at 30,000 cedis per gallon up from 20,000 cedis. Kerosene is now 24,000 cedis from 17,500 cedis; LPG has risen from 3,800 cedis per kilogram to 5,700 cedis; Pre-mix from 16,000 cedis to 21,000 cedis a gallon.

Gas Oil (Diesel) from 17,500 cedis per gallon to 26,500 cedis and Marine Gas oil from 16,000 to 21,000 cedis per gallon.

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance, who announced this at a press conference in Accra, said transport fares would go up by 30 per cent as already agreed by the stakeholders in the transport business. He said the Tripartite Committee would come out with new basic salary, which would be announced in the budget next week. 19 Feb. 05

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