Fuel prices: Meet Ghanaians halfway; stop firefighting approach - Baako advises gov't
The Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper has said the government communicators branding demonstrators as an opposition is an "outdated" move.
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr said such an approach does not help the government of the day to deal with the agitation against petroleum price hikes.
Speaking on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis programme Newsfile, Saturday, he said when politicians play chess with fuel prices it does not help the voter.
“I want to appeal to government…those out there truly feel something and are not just talking by heart…I want to be pragmatic about it.
“Government has the capacity and must have the capacity to have the willingness to meet the people halfway and deal with the issues by bringing solutions on board,” he added.
According to him, whatever area of the pricing structure government can work on to bring relief to Ghanaians, it ought to focus on that.
“If you look at our Budget statement of 2016 and 2017 the country’s growth rate of 3.6 was hugely attributable to a huge drop in the petroleum sector," he said.
Contributing to the discussion, former Deputy Energy Minister, John Jinapor, said with petroleum prices going above 60 cents, government is having a huge windfall of some 69% increment in revenue.
“Governments receipts are astronomically increasing. It only makes sense that a really listening government will use part of the windfall from here to cushion Ghanaians," he added.
He also criticised moves by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to increase fuel taxes.
According to Mr Jinapor, the Authority does not have the mandate to do so without first getting parliamentary approval.
“Just like the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is a collecting agency on street lights and other things, it [NPA] cannot vary the taxes because it does not have that power,” he said.
According to him, the NPA is mandated by the law to lodge whatever monies it collects in an account established by the Finance Minister within 15 days.
He said when prices fluctuate the Finance Minister uses the monies accruing to cushion Ghanaians and to deal with subsidies on premix, among others.