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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Transport fares to be increased after 2021 budget is approved – GPRTU says it will

The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has indicated that road transport operators will increase transport fares after Parliament approves the 2021 budget.

The Union says it will release new fares immediately after the approval of the budget.

According to the union, the 2021 budget contains a number of taxes that will affect their operations hence the decision.

During the budget presentation last Friday, the Caretaker Finance Minister, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated that petroleum prices will increase by 5.7% at the various pumps together with an increase in road tolls.

He explained that the new tax–the Sanitation and Pollution Levy is to fund efforts to fund investment in the areas of sanitation and pollution.

“To provide the requisite resources to address these challenges and fund these activities, the government is proposing a Sanitation and Pollution Levy (SPL) of 10 pesewas on the price per litre of petrol/diesel under the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA),” the Minister said.

“Mr. Speaker, it has become very necessary for the government to consider a review of the energy sector levies. The Energy Sector Recovery Levy of 20 pesewas per litre on petrol/diesel under the ESLA is hereby submitted to this House for approval,” he added.

The General Secretary of the GPRTU, Godfred Abulbire in a Citi News interview said various components of the tax will influence the upward adjustment of the fares.

He believes that if they (GPRTU) fail to increase the fares, it will adversely affect their operations.

“The moment Parliament approves the 2021 budget, we are sure that we will come out with lorry fares increased by a certain margin. We don’t want to make reference to the fuel price adjustments because there are other components like the road tolls which have also been increased. Usually, the practice has been that when fuel price is adjusted by a certain percentage then we are also informed to increase fares by a certain percentage equivalent to that effect, but now we can see that from the budget proposals, there are so much into it which will have more effect than the fuel itself.”

Meanwhile, GPRTU in a statement on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, asked its members said to have increased fares to rescind such decision.

Meanwhile, the proposal of the new taxes has led to some public uproar since it was announced on Friday, March 12, 2021.

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers has described it as a lazy approach to addressing challenges, especially within the energy sector.

According to its Executive Secretary, Duncan Amoah, such development is insensitive especially as many Ghanaians and their businesses are still reeling from the impact of COVID-19 and there has already been about 11% hike in fuel prices over the past two months.

“This is quite predictable, but again one would have expected that there would be some sensitivity to the times and the fact that Ghanaians and businesses are still reeling under the COVID-19 effect,” he said in a Citi News interview.

He thus asked Parliament not to approve it.

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