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12.10.2005 General News

CJA challenges NPA to come up with the correct fuel prices

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Accra, Oct. 12, GNA - The Committee for Joint Action (CJA) on Wednesday challenged the National Petroleum Authority to come up with the true details of the ex-refinery petroleum price build up saying its calculation was above what Ghanaians should pay.

Mr. Ato Ahwoi, Member of the CJA said at a press conference that the association had followed closely, developments on the international oil market and knew crude oil prices had been on the increase, adding, however that the increases announced by the NPA did not reflect the truth.

He said the NPP government in consultation with the NPA over charged Ghanaians for the product when they announced the new prices on February 23 and October 3, 2005, saying they played around with the prices of LPG, Kerosene and pre-mix fuel. Mr. Ahwoi said the increase in crude oil prices by 21 dollars per barrel between February and October resulted in an increase in ex-refinery price of petrol of 1,739.16 cedis per gallon meaning that an increase of 47.3 per cent in crude oil prices leads to only 12.75 per cent.

He noted that it was strange when government fixed the new prices at 32,000 cedis for petrol and 29,100 for diesel since at 44 dollars per barrel, ex-refinery price was 13,645 per gallon and at 65 dollars per barrel ex-refinery price was about 15,384 cedis.

Mr. Ahwoi said the CJA was opposed to the level of taxes and levies which added to the ex-refinery price that pushed the price up adding " Our opposition is consistent with the CJA's long standing demand for a lowering of taxes and levies on petroleum products." He said in the October 3, 2005 build up, taxes for petrol still accounted for over 40 per cent of ex-pump prices adding that government had even increased taxes and levies on petrol by about 260 cedis per gallon.

"Significantly, the margin paid to distributors which is part of the cost build-up remained the same. Yet in the run up to the October 3, 2005 price increases and as part of the NPP propaganda, Ghanaians were told the there was pressure from Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) for price adjustment", yet the OMC's ended up without any increase in their margins, he added.

Mr. Ahwoi said since President Kufuor assumed office in January 2001, prices of petroleum products have risen by over 350 per cent with an increase of 25,600 per gallon for petrol or 400 per cent and 23,100 cedis per gallon for diesel or 385 per cent. He said the increase in fuel prices was not insignificant as propagated by government adding these increases would have a significant impact on bulk haulage transport and the cost of food would increase as already being experienced.

The Kufuor administration stabbed workers at the back when it prevailed on the consultative forum on September 30, 2005 to accept an 11.5 per cent salary increase effective July 2005 only to increase prices of petrol and fuel three days later, he said. Mr. Ahwoi noted that the first logical thing any serious government did in times of economic crisis was to review its expenditure and not simply pile taxes on Ghanaians even as they moaned and cried for redemption.

He said the CJA had chalked some successes manifested in the reduction of the prices of kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas adding that it would intensify the struggle to protect the livelihood of Ghanaians.