The Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC) and the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) have asked members of the public to disregard a purported 40 per increment in transport fares, effective Monday, January 17, this year.
The two transport sector groups said the tripartite committee made up of the Ministry of Transport, fuel operators and transport operators would engage in due processes to determine the appropriate transport fares, so it was unacceptable for any group of drivers to announce an increment in the fares.
Speaking separately to the Daily Graphic Thursday, the General Secretary of the GRTCC, Mr Emmanuel Ohene Yeboah and the Head of Communications at GPRTU, Mr Abbas Ibrahim Moro, called on members of the public to remain calm and wait for the transport fares that would be agreed on by all parties at the end of negotiations.
The Concerned Drivers Association of Ghana (C-DAG) had on January 10, this year, announced a 40 per cent increment in transport fares, effective Monday, January 17, 2022.
The association indicated that the decision to increase the transport fares had been necessitated by hardships drivers currently faced.
Among other things, the C-DAG said the decision to increase the fares had been influenced by a multiplicity of factors, some of which included high cost of fuel price at the pumps, the increase in the prices of vehicles and high cost of spare parts and lubricants.
However, the officials of the GRTCC and GPRTU the Daily Graphic spoke to observed that although there was a justification for an upward adjustment in transport fares, there was the need for the major stakeholders to complete negotiations and come out with fares that would be acceptable by all, including members of the public.
Mr Yeboah said the tripartite committee in the transport sector had the sole responsibility of determining transport fares, and that role had not been ceded to the C-DAG.
"When there is the need to adjust transport fares upward, the tripartite committee will meet and determine it. As we speak, the committee has not determined any fares yet. C-DAG cannot increase fares without discussing with other key stakeholders. They do not have that capacity to increase fares," he said.
Responding to the claim by C-DAG that the decision to increase the transport fares was influenced by hardships facing drivers, increment in fuel prices, high cost of vehicles and spare parts, he said even if such conditions existed, due process must be followed to determine the appropriate fares.
"If you are thirsty, you do not jump into the river to drink. Much as we need money, we must consider the public interest," he stressed.
When asked how soon the tripartite committee would come out with the approved transport fares, Mr Yeboah said "the committee will work on it and determine it by the end of this month or early next month."
He called on C-DAG members to join the negotiating table if they do not have any "parochial agenda."
GPRTU not in support
For his part, Mr Moro said the GPRTU had dissociated itself from the announcement by C-DAG.
He said the action by the C-DAG to jump the gun was uncalled for, especially so when a petition had already been presented to the government for a reduction of some taxes that impact on fuel prices.
"We have presented a petition to the government on the reduction of taxes on fuel prices. We have not heard from the government yet. Transport fares are not just increased anyhow; there should be justification," he said.
Mr Moro called on commercial drivers to exercise restraint while the tripartite committee worked out transport fares that would meet the interest of all stakeholders.