The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has called on government to institute a subsidisation scheme for transport operators, to ‘cushion’ them, due to revenue losses in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19).
A statement signed and issued by Duncan Amoah, Executive Secretary of COPEC, in Accra yesterday, said such subsidy would enable transport operators to continue to observe social distancing, which has led to revenue losses, in their buses and cars.
It said increase in fuel prices from GH¢4.65/litre to GH¢4.820/litre, representing some 3.8 per cent of pump prices, was hampering the business of transport operators and would impact negatively on the sector.
The statement indicated that “the social distancing directive by the state, has led to a very significant reduction in the revenues of these drivers from between 25 to 40 per cent and thus, we cannot continue to expect the public transport operators and systems to continuously function as though we were in normal times.”
It said the ordeal of drivers had been made worse given the recent surge in international prices of petroleum products, which has impacted domestic prices.
These circumstances have led to the inability of drivers to adhere to the stipulated directives while maintaining sustainability or profitability of their businesses. As such, the drivers are left with no choice than to increase the fares in order to remain in business without any interventions or support from the state,” the statement noted.
The Chamber said a subsidisation scheme on petroleum products, specifically targeting the commercial drivers would be a good incentive for them to continue adhering to the social distancing protocols while curtailing the harsh effects of these significant increases in transport fares on the general commuting public.
The statement recommended that a compensation scheme be instituted by government to ease the cost burden on the drivers.
This, it said, could include commercial drivers receiving coupons, which could be used to purchase a few litres of fuel.
The statement urged the Bank of Ghana to put in place urgent measures to guarantee fixed forex rates for petroleum importers in order to curtail the harsh effects the depreciation of the local currency was having on fuel prices as it was impacting adversely on Ghanaian consumers during this difficult phase of COVID-19.
“These will aid the government’s efforts and commitment to controlling the spread of the pandemic in the country and saving Ghanaian lives and ease the financial burden on the drivers which would have otherwise been transferred to consumers especially in this difficult time of economic stress on both businesses and individuals,” the statement said.
BY TIMES REPORTER