Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr
Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper has criticized government communicators who brand demonstrators as opposition elements, describing it as an “outdated”move.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 Newsfile on 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 willingness to meet the people halfway and deal with the issues by bringing solutions on board,” he added.
According to him, government must focus the pricing structure to bring relief to Ghanaians.
“If you look at our Budget Statement of 2016 and 2017 the country’s growth rate of 3.6 percent was hugely attributable to a huge drop in the petroleum sector,” he said.
Contributing to the discussions, former Deputy Energy Minister, John Jinapor, said with petroleum prices going above $60, government is having a huge windfall of some 69% increment in revenue.
“Government’s 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 criticized 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 must use the monies that have accrued to cushion Ghanaians and deal with subsidies on premix, among others.