President John Dramani Mahama has described the recent 10 per cent reduction in the prices of petroleum products as “drastic”.
He was speaking Wednesday on Kumasi-based Angel FM, on the occasion of his second year in power.
Asked why the government had failed to reduce petrol prices drastically in the face of plummeting crude oil prices, President Mahama told his host, Kwame Adinkra, that the 10 per cent reduction announced by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) was “drastic” enough.
The President said: “If something is 100 percent, and it is reduced by 10 per cent, is it not drastic? This fine coat you are wearing, if you are told that it is Gh₵ 100 and you get a reduction of Gh₵10, it is significant.”
Explaining why the government has been unable to reduce fuel prices beyond 10 per cent, despite oil prices have fallen to less than $50 a barrel from $115 in June 2014, President Mahama said it was due to a Gh₵470 million debt owed to Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs), who import petroleum products.
The debt, according to the President, was generated after the government, in the recent past, failed to increase fuel prices to a level commensurate with high crude oil prices.
He said in the three months – October to December – that the NPA did not reduce fuel prices, the Gh₵470 million debt had been reduced to Gh₵171 million.
According to him, now the debt has been reduced significantly and fuel prices are still dropping, the NPA would evaluate the prices again with a view to reducing them further.
The President, however, underscored the need for Ghana to take advantage of the falling oil prices to put in place some sort of mitigation levy that the country can fall on when oil prices start rising again.
He said NPA would take a proposal to Parliament in this regard.
President Mahama went on to express regret at what he described as unwillingness on the part of transport operators and businesses to reduce the prices of their services each time the government reduces fuel prices.
According to him, the situation was preventing ordinary Ghanaians from benefitting from fuel price reductions.
Source: Graphic Online