This is the third time I am writing on this topic and this is because it is one sector of the economy that determines cost of living conditions generally in the country. I have never seen any government come to power and had the courage to reduce prices. Even when world market prices of crude oil dropped to the lowest per barrel, prices in Ghana remained unbearable.
Political parties and politicians have always made news when in opposition against incumbents as if prices would be cut when leadership and power changes.
On one of his immediate past campaign platforms, former President John Dramani Mahama compared the prices of petroleum products when he was in office in 2016 against price levels in 2020. Vehemently condemning the Akufo-Addo government for mismanagement.
Of cause, when John Mahama was leaving office in 2016, petrol price was at about 15ghs a gallon. A sharp contrast of about 26ghs a gallon under Akufo-Addo in 2020, even though he criticized price levels while campaigning against Mahama in opposition.
I quite agreed with John Mahama’s campaign rhetoric but what John Mahama failed to convince his audience and his listening public about was his inability to indicate how much he would reduce prices when he won the Presidency.
The politics of petroleum pricing in Ghana has been a mere political gimmick and rhetoric. It is a known fact that petrol prices largely determines overall pricing of goods and services in this country. The unbearable cost of living conditions in the Country largely depends on the Politics of petroleum PRICING.
There is no reason why petrol can not sell for 15ghs a gallon at the pump, as I write.
I want to be Frank to the people of Ghana, that if any right thinking leader of this Nation would emerge and be bold and willing to change the destiny of the poorest poor, we can go back to the post independent days life when tro-tro was Tro Tro, and when the trained teacher was paid 27 cedis a month but could reasonably live and still save to buy a refrigerator. In todays Ghana, transportation is so high because of killer tax systems and the policy of free fuel use by politicians throughout the country.
There are over one million people who are appointed by the president to executive positions and who are paid under article 71 of the 1992 constitution and enjoy a host of fringe benefits including free petrol for the month. It is estimated that over 10 Billion Ghana Cedis will be wasted only on petrol, which is paid out of the Consolidated Fund.
Both sides of the political divide, knows how destructive the free system affects the national economy but who cares? As long as they are enjoying under the constitution, they think it is ok and make the system a mockery of our democracy. After all, Constitutions are drawn by humans and must be changed or reviewed as times and conditions change under modern civilization.
If our Parliamentarians can’t think beyond the box to design a modern system to develop our economy and make life meaningful at reasonable living conditions then, we are in trouble, and not going anywhere. We can not talk about Ghana beyond aid when we have not solved the fundamental economic problems that have systematically brought Ghanaians to our present state of hopelessness.
By Samuel Ofori Ampofo
The writer is the Local President of Ghana Leadership Union (GLU) and Founder of National Crusaders Alliance (NCA).