The Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, COPEC, Duncan Amoah, says government should consider providing a stimulus package for public transport operators if it seeks to prevent increases in transport fares.
Drivers, who ply the Tarkwa-Takoradi route in the Western Region, increased their fares by about thirty percent on Monday June 29, 2020, to make up for the limited passenger intake as part of measures to ensure social distancing on buses.
Some drivers at the Neoplan Station in Accra have also appealed for an increase in fares to make up for the drop in revenue.
Duncan Amoah told Citi Business News an even support to transport owners by government should ease the burden on consumers.
“If you look at the kind of numbers they are operating with currently, it is problematic as they have to go and pay for sales, fuel and spare parts among others. We are not in normal times, so we are calling on government to as a matter of urgency put in place some subsidy program for these commercial transport operators. Either we reduce the taxes on fuel for them alone or we find a way to identify unions and give them some targeted subsidies so that every driver can at least have some minimum amounts to augment their fuel purchases and spare parts,” he said.
“This can be done at least within this period. Once they are able to go through this period and get back to working normally, we may now have to look at their operations in proper perspective,” he added.
Following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus which has had an adverse effect on various sectors of the economy, many worker groups have called on the government for support.
President Nana Akufo-Addo in his 11th televised address asked drivers of commercial vehicles to reduce the number of passengers they take on board their vehicles in adherence to social distancing protocols amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
While some have been seen to be in compliance, others have refused to pay heed, arguing that practising social distancing aboard their vehicles will reduce their revenue.
Currently, Ghana has 17,351 COVID-19 cases with 12,994 recoveries and 112 deaths.