TAKORADI, Ghana – Government is sparing no effort in its attempt to renege on fuel subsidies. The Minister of Finance, Mr. Seth Tekper, said the decision to remove fuel subsidies is long overdue.
Speaking on Joy FM and Multi TV’s news analysis program on Saturday, the minister said in April last year the late President John Mills and President John Mahama met with stakeholders to agree on the removal of fuel subsidies.
However, the policy implementation was delayed when the Cedi depreciated at the time. The government continued with its fuel subsidy program in order to halt the fast sinking rate of the currency to avoid deleterious effects on small businesses.
But the time is ripe, more than ripe, said Mr. Seth Tepker, for the government to walk out of the dilemma. Fuel subsidies, he emphasized are hurting the Ghanaian economy!
Others are blaming the current government for playing political expediency with the fuel subsidies.
Mr. Seth Tekper is however convinced that the decision must be taken now. Although on a rare showing, some infamous skeptics including former Chief Executive Officer of the VRA, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, dispute government claims of fuel subsidies and have challenged the government to show figures.
Mr. Tepker insisted the subsidies are real and not imagined. The National Petroleum Authority boss Mr. Alex Mould was also agreeably emphatic that the government was paying subsidies on fuel.
He said even if the taxes on the fuel were removed there will still be a shortfall in terms of the cost of production of the fuel and the price at which it was sold to Ghanaians. He said the time has come for Ghanaians to pay realistic prices for petroleum products.
But the Director of Communications of the NPP, Mr. Nana Akomea was not convinced and indicated that there was an orchestrated attempt by government spokespersons to have fuel prices increased at all cost. He accused the government of a lack of transparency or evidence to the effect of paying subsidies on fuel.