Civil society Organisation, Chamber for Consumer Protection and Public Safety is mounting pressure on the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council to reverse the 15% increase in transportation fares.
In an interview with Pulse Business after the group released a statement early Monday, Executive Director of CCPPS, Anthony Morrison challenged claims being made by the Ghana Private Transport Union that the fare increments are due to hikes in major inputs in the cost of transport service providers.
The GPRTU have sided hikes in the cost of lubricants, insurance, spare parts, road tolls, and DVLA charges.
They add that oil prices form only 15% of their cost build up and is not the main reason of the increment.
However, executive director of the Chamber of Consumer Protection and Public Safety says the GPRTU is merely being deceptive and disingineous.
" The GPRTU is merely throwing dust into the eyes of Ghanaians. Were they not the same people who said in July 2015, that the fuel prices constituted 70 percent of their cost build up? Why are they claiming it makes up only 15% of their buildup today"
Mr. Anthony Morrison also challenged the claims of increments in the cost of the other inputs mentioned by the GPRTU.
Prices of spare parts and
According to Mr. Morrison, the relative stability of the local currency against major currencies in the past four months means that the claims of increments in the prices of spare parts and lubricants cannot be true.
" When we even take the same inputs they are talking about, we realize that the stabilisation of the Ghana Cedi over the past four months has ensured a relative stability in the prices of spare parts and the lubricants they are talking about." he said.
Maintenance and repair costs due to bad roads
The GPRTU also say transport owners and drivers have had to frequent the garage owing to the bad nature of the nation's roads.
Again, Mr. Morrison challenged the claim, saying, " Statistics show that government has spent more money repairing and improving the state of the country's roads. So it cannot be true that owners are spending more on repairs due to bad roads."
Cost of Insurance
In 2015, insurance companies increased third- payment vehicle insurance by close to 300 percent. The GPRTU cited this as one of the main cause of their 15% hike in transport fares.
But the Executive Director of the Chamber of Consumer Protection and Public Safety the price of insurance must not be in the cost build up, because insurance benefits only the transport owner.
" Why must insurance cost be in the build up of transport fares? Who does it benefit, the transport owner or the passenger. Insurance is a legal requirement, that ensures that the cost that the transport owner must bare personally in times of an accident, is insured. It has nothing to do with the passenger. The passenger is not supposed to pay for that" he asserted.
The Chamber is therefore calling on the Ministry of transport to call the GPRTU to order, especially because the transport union disrespected the consultative process and imposed the price increases before the dialogue between the National Petroleum Authority the Ministry of Transport and the Transport Union itself.
Here is the full statement of the CCPPS:
The Chamber for Consumer Protection and public Safety has noted with great concern, the announcement of a 15% increase in transport fares as approved by the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC) effective today 1st February, 2016.
We are outraged by this latest increase, more because, the prices at the pump for various petroleum products are expected to see a reduction effective today 1st February, 2016.
We have taken cognisance of the fact that petrol prices went up by some 28% this year which would have warranted a commensurate increase in transport fares. However, the Chamber had equally taken note of the fact that, prices at the pump remained lower than they were in July 2015 before the increase of fare by transport operators.
The Chamber remained cognisant of the fact that, soon after the increase in transport fares in July 2015, prices of fuel kept going down consistently. This had resulted in transport operators making windfall profits. It has become a constant worry for the Chamber, the speed of light with which businesses in this country would not hesitate shifting cost to the poor consumer.
The drive and desire for profit is causing the business man to mount unbearable pressure on the already burdened Ghanaian. We are, with this statement, demanding an immediate reversal of the announced 15% increase in transport fares as we deem it unwarranted and inappropriate to the ordinary consumer.
We are convinced beyond every reasonable doubt that, should prices remain where they are, the transport operators would still make profit worthy enough to sustain their business.