The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers – Ghana (COPEC) is demanding the immediate reduction of transport fares following the President’s 14th COVID-19 address on Sunday, 26 July 2020 in which he said taxis and commercial buses (trotros) can now resume full-capacity passenger loading.
The President said: “In consultation with the Ministries of Transport and Aviation, and the leadership of transport operators, the government has taken the decision to lift the restrictions in the transport sector, and allow for full capacity in our domestic airplanes, taxis, trotros and buses”.
“The wearing of masks in vehicles and aircraft, and the maintenance of enhanced hygiene protocols, remain mandatory”, he added.
A statement signed by COPEC’s Executive Secretary Duncan Amoah, said what this directive means is that every revenue the commercial transport operators have been losing per trip, which the commuters have recently been forced to bear, as a result of a 15 to 30 per cent fare hike, has now been “restored in favour of our commercial transport operators” and, thus, the recent fare hikes “must and should be reversed forthwith”.
The Chamber said it takes cognisance of the fact that the period prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions had fuel trading at GHS5.650/litre but due to a global fall in demand and its attendant effects on pricing, fuel prices dropped by over 30% to below GHS3.890/litre and has, in recent times, gone up marginally by a cumulative average of 16% to currently average 4.80/litre at the pumps.
COPEC argued that the fare hikes cannot be justified, in the current circumstances, by “the marginal fuel price increases” to, “ostensibly deny Ghanaian commuters the deserved reductions in transport fares”, “since the fuel price variance before and after the lockdown period remains a distant 10%+ to the commercial transport operators at this point”.
“We are, by this statement, calling on some of our major stakeholders in the transport sector, including the GPRTU, Concerned Drivers Association, Committed Drivers Association and the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council, to, immediately, without fail, ensure that transport fares are reversed by close of day tomorrow, not only to previous rates but a further 5% reduction, possibly on the previous rates before these recent increases since the fuel price variance, as of this point, remains positive by, at least, a further 12% from the pre-COVID-19 lockdown period”.