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20.02.2006 General News

Drivers Cash In On Fuel Price Increase

By Ghanaian Times

COMMERCIAL drivers are charging unapproved fares following the increases in the prices of petroleum products announced on Friday by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

Most drivers now charge more than 10 per cent of the increase on petrol. A gallon of petrol which was ¢31,800 is now ¢34,800 representing 9.59 per cent increase.

However, a trip from Kwame Nkrumah Circle to Banana Inn for which ¢1,800 was charged is now ¢2,500, an increase of over 10 per cent.

Circle to Dansoman which was ¢2,500, is now ¢3,000.

Sakumono to Circle, and Accra which was ¢3,500 is now ¢4,000.

Drivers plying the La to Circle are charging ¢2,300 up from ¢2,000.

Some of the commercial drivers the Times spoke to complained that they were always left out in the process of fixing fuel prices.

Kwaku Tettey, a driver said, "The fares must come alongside the price increase. This is the only way to avoid this confusion of unapproved fares."

Since Friday night passengers have been quarrelling with drivers over new fares arbitrarily introduced.

Mr Jonas Ofori, a passenger to Kumasi, told the Times that, the NPA and the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) should collaborate to ensure that users of commercial transport do not have problems with fares.

"In this era of computerization, I find it difficult to understand why these two authorities cannot ensure that petroleum price increases come along with approved lorry fares."

The General Secretary of the GPRTU, Samuel Okudzeto, in an interview with Joy FM, an Accra Radio Station, expressed regret at the lack of co-ordination between the NPA and the GPRTU.

He said the price increases which were announced on Friday were to take effect at 6 p.m. that day, leaving the GPRTU in a fix about determining new fares.

"Drivers on the other hand will have to buy fuel at these new prices. They then go ahead to charge their own fares, hence the confusion that normally accompany such price increases," he explained.

Gilbert Amega, a passenger suggested that there should be corresponding salary adjustments to the price increases.

"Increases of this nature throw the budget of the ordinary workers out of gear and reduce their purchasing power," he stressed.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Road Transport Council is expected to meet today to work on new fares.