Taxi drivers protest high fuel prices

Some angry drivers on demonstration in Accra.Photo;Mercy AmparbengAngry taxi drivers yesterday marched through the central business district of Accra to demand the immediate reduction of fuel prices, which they said was affecting their operations.

Members of the Ghana Committed Taxi Drivers Association said, the government has failed to adhere to the Automatic Adjustment Formula which it announced earlier this year.

The formula is meant to reduce or increase petroleum prices depending on the pricing on the international market.

The taxi drivers said, the constant reduction of fuel prices on the international market should compel government to decrease fuel prices to mitigate the hardship that it imposes on Ghanaians.

Crude oil price has reduced to nearly $77 per barrel after Saudi Arabia unexpectedly cut the price of crude oil sold to the United States.

In its last review, the National Petroleum Authority, reduced prices of petroleum products in Ghana by 2%, but the government recently imposed a 17.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on some petroleum products.

Finance Minister Mr. Seth Tekper presenting the 2015 budget to Parliament recently, revealed a special petroleum tax of 17.5 per cent in the 2015 fiscal year.

The drivers numbering about 100 wielded placards with inscriptions like “Adhere to your own rules”, “Mahama 2016 is coming”, “The hardship is too much” ,“Are we not part of the world?” and “Reduce petrol prices now” among other inscriptions.

They converged at the Obra Spot at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, where an estimated 1000 members were expected.

Mostly dressed in red attire to demonstrate their frustration, the drivers sang ‘jama’ songs, which impressed on government and its agencies managing the oil sector, to heed to their demands.

Addressing the demonstrators at the Hearts Park after a peaceful march aided by policemen from the Greater Accra Regional Command, the president of the association, Mr. Charles Danso, said fuel prices affect all aspects of the economy, hence the call for their immediate reduction.

He said drivers massively voted for the NDC government because it promised to stabilise fuel prices ahead of the 2008 elections.

Mr. Danso, however, hinted that the drivers would embark on a national demonstration and strike in the near future, if their demands are not met.

He said, the drivers would have no option than to vote against the government, if the prices are not reviewed downwards to reflect international trends.

By Julius Yao Petetsi    

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