Monday, 24 January

Fuel price hike: We’re not ‘Father Christmas’; we can’t love Ghana more than our livelihood – Drivers

The commercial drivers say they have had enough

Commercial drivers have served notice to the government of Ghana that they will not relent in their quest to see transport fares go up in parity with the consistent fuel price hikes.

They say they cannot continue to love Ghana while their businesses get run down as a result of unbridled fuel price hikes.

Mr Yaw Barimah, spokesperson for the True Drivers Union told Accra100.5FM’s mid-day news on Monday, 10 January 2022 that their patience as commercial drivers have run out.

Mr Barimah was speaking in support of the intention by drivers to hike fares by 40 per cent from next week.

He explained that even though commercial drivers have shown magnanimity to Ghanaians by keeping their fares stable despite the frequent fuel price hikes, the government has failed to reciprocate their generosity by mitigating the fuel price hikes.

“Last year, the government increased the price of petroleum products 23 times and once this year, yet transport fares have not gone up”, he said.

“We are not father Christmas to be giving freebies to Ghanaians when the government is not doing so in terms of the price of petroleum products in the country”, he complained.

In his view, “the government is the one supposed to be giving freebies because it collects taxes”. 

Their fellow drivers who make up the Concerned Drivers Association of Ghana (C-DAG), earlier issued a notice to increase transport fares by 40 per cent, effective Monday, 17 January 2022.

The drivers say the increase, even though cannot bring them the ultimate comfort they desire, can “only ameliorate the unbearable hardships” facing them currently.

The drivers, in a statement, said although they commiserate with Ghanaians on the current economic hardship, in order to keep them in business, they are left with no other option but to adjust transport fares upward.

The hike in transport fares, according to the drivers, has been necessitated by the price of fuel commodities at the pumps of the various Oil Marketing Companies.

They said fuel commodities have seen a consistent rise and will even soon see another increase, as predicted by the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC).

The drivers also argued that the increase in fares is because of the increase in the prices of vehicles.

“The prices of cars continue to increase on a daily basis due to high duty rates at the ports. This situation makes it even more difficult to defray the cost of vehicles, causing car owners to increase daily sales of drivers. In the end, drivers work virtually for nothing,” the statement said.

In addition, the drivers noted that the prices of spare parts have also witnessed an upward adjustment.

“Coupled with poor roads in the country, drivers are heavily burdened, as we have to rapidly change vehicle parts. Our partners, mechanics, who replace these parts, have also increased their service charges”.

“Essential engine parts and lubricants have also had their prices increased. For instance, a four-and-a-half litre engine lubricant which used to sell at GHS65 is now sold to us at GHS110,” they bemoaned.

The drivers said it has become extremely difficult for them to manage their homes, as prices of basic commodities, including sachet water, have also seen a rise.

They have, thus, encouraged Ghanaians to avoid fighting drivers and their conductors when the new fares are implemented.

It will be recalled that a little over a month ago, drivers embarked on a sit-down strike, which negatively affected commuters.

Even though the Chief of Staff, Frema Osei Opare intervened on behalf of the government by meeting the driver unions and promising mitigating measures, that promise in the drivers’ view, has not materialised.

Source: Mensah