The recent increament in the pump price of petroleum product by the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) has triggered reactions from Ghanaians.
The increment at the pump, follows the amendment of the Energy Sector Levy Act in the 2021 budget. The Energy Sector Recovery Levy introduced 20 Ghana pesewas on a litre of petrol and diesel and 18 pesewas per kg on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
Before the petroleum product increment took effect, the biggest telecommunication company in the country, MTN, reviewed its data and call charges upwards, beginning May 1, the adjustment is as a result of the 1 percent increase in the National Health Insurance Levy.
In the opinion of this newspaper, this is not the time for any further increase in the price of petroleum products or any product, because of the negative effect of such a decision on the economy and, by extension, the life of the ordinary Ghanaian.
We see the increment as an act that smacks of gross insensitivity on the part of the government amid high level of poverty and suffering among the populace. A lot of Ghanaians, have lost their jobs, not through fault of theirs, but the pandemic that has hit hard on many economies.
As a country, we need to come up with other means of raising revenue, instead of always imposing taxes on the already overtaxed sectors, example being the petroleum sector.
Other countries, in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic, have introduced palliatives to lessen the economic hardship on the citizens.
The President of the United States of America (USA), Joe Biden, few days ago, announced 15 dollars an hour as minimum wage for workers under government contract.
Last year, president Akufo-Addo, announced 12 percent salary increment, the proposed increment is yet to take effect.
It needs to be emphasized that, the almost 17 percent increment at the pump, is not in the public interest and government must do something about it.
We are not also obvious of the fact, the current economic meltdown presents a very delicate balance between economic and commercial considerations on one hand and the social and welfare considerations on the other.
To that extent, therefore, the government needs to locate the balance, in order not to worsen the plight of Ghanaians.