The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has lamented the recent increase in the price of fuel. According to COPEC fuel prices have increased from GHS4.65 to GHS4.820 per litre.
An increment in the BOST Margin by Cabinet from 3 pesewas to 6 pesewas for a litre of petroleum product led to the increase in fuel at the pumps. This was announced by the National Petroleum Authority on May 29.
Despite the increment in fuel prices, commercial transport operators were directed to reduce the number of passengers they take in a bid to ensure social distancing in vehicles as part of efforts to fight COVID-19.
Although the transport operators adhered to the directive, they have recently called on government to reverse the directive or allow them to increase transport fares.
A statement signed by the Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah, complained about the negative effects coronavirus has had on commercial drivers.
According to COPEC, the revenue made by drivers has decreased by between 25% to 40% in recent times.
“The social distancing coupled with recent increases in fuel prices at the pumps by as much as over
16% due largely to international market price increases and the depreciation of the local
currency seems to have brought a lot of hardships on these public transport operators and other
petroleum consumers across the country,” the statement read.
It added that, “The commercial and public transport operators, further indicate there’s been a further increase in the cost of spare parts due to the cedi’s depreciation and as such, general increases in their input costs while their revenues have considerably dipped due to the enforcement of the social distancing directive.”
In that regard, Mr. Amoah insists the government must put in mitigation measures aimed at helping the transport operators.
One of the ways he suggested in the statement is the “introduction of a chit or coupon subsidy program strictly for commercial transport operators”.
“The Central Government can per this, introduce a chit or a coupon system to be administered by
the various transport unions for their memberships such that the various fuel stations will be reimbursed the difference between the agreed subsidy or percentage reduction on the fuel purchases by these public transport operators,” the statement said.
He also recommended an upfront cash disbursement to the registered public transport operators or driver unions “to cushion their fuel purchases during this period of social distancing in the various buses and cars”.
COPEC says these measures, when put in place, will go a long way to ease the financial burden on the drivers and “will be a good incentive for them to continue adhering to the social distancing protocols whiles curtailing the harsh effects of these significant increases in transport fares on the general commuting public”.