The Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Ade Coker, has cautioned Ghanaians not to politicise possible fuel price hikes and warned that such a move could be detrimental to the country’s economy.
He stated that the practice of justifying or condemning the increase in petroleum prices through "political binoculars" should not be countenanced.
Mr Coker was reacting to speculations of a possible removal of the government subsidies on petroleum products by the end of the month, which could mean an increment in fuel prices.
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Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme, Mr Ade Coker explained that government could not be faulted for the potential increment in fuel prices because that would follow a global trend.
According to him, even the United States and other global super powers had increased their fuel prices in response to crude oil’s soaring market value, adding that the government should not be blamed for following suit.
Mr Coker also said that oil had become a powerful political tool over which hapless nations such as Ghana had no control, pointing out that the government should be commended for stabilising the prices of petroleum products.
He called on political parties, especially the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), not to capitalise on the situation to discredit the government.
He also urged the government to reach a consensus with all stakeholders before removing subsidies on petroleum products.
In a rebuttal, however, the NPP Director of Communications, Nana Akomea, said Mr Coker’s comments smacked of hypocrisy and double standards.
He recalled how in the run-up to the 2008 general election the ruling party made the issue of petroleum prices the bedrock of their campaign, with then candidate Prof. Mills promising to reduce fuel prices "drastically" if their party was voted for.
Mr Akomea said Ghanaians should blame the government if it increased fuel prices since the NDC politicised the oil prices issue when it was in opposition.
He, however, conceded that the use of fuel prices as a "political weapon" must be discouraged.
Story by Donald Ato Dapatem