Some driver unions have unilaterally increased lorry fares

Government and the Ghana Private Roads Transport Union (GPRTU) of Trades Union Congress (TUC) have announced that they have not approved an increment of transport fares by 20 percent.

A communiqué issued said a meeting between the Ministry of Transport, GPRTU and other transport unions, to bring finality to the determination of an upward adjustment in transport fares ended inconclusively.

The situation, has left players in the transport industry, especially, commercial drivers in the dark, with many complaining of incurring losses in their business following the introduction of new taxes on petroleum products coupled with price increases in spare parts.

With no agreement reached as of now, some transport unions have taken it upon themselves to increase transport fares by 20 percent, urging their members to ensure its implementation on Monday, May 17, 2021.

Ghana Committed Drivers Association, International Drivers Road Transport Union, Truth Drivers Union, Concern Drivers Association and other unions and associations announced increment in their lorry fares by 20% effective 17th May, 2021.

The unions argued that the increase has become necessary in view of the number of taxes on fuel announced by the Government in the 2021 budget, which were subsequently approved by Parliament.

According to them, a gallon of fuel which used to be sold at the pump for GH¢24.52 is now sold at GH¢27.22.

They added that prices of spare parts and DVLA charges have shot up considerably.

However, the leadership of the GPRTU and other traditional transport operators have argued that such a move is in bad light, urging the general public to disregard any purported increase in transport fares.

They have also entreated their members to stay calm as they negotiate for a fare adjustment within the shortest possible time.

According to the official communication, the meeting which was held on May 12, 2021, reviewed the cost components including the recent increase in the price of petroleum products, cost of spare parts, inflation, drivers’ salaries and taxes among others.

It was a follow up to an earlier meeting held on May 5, 2021.

Following the meetings, there is now a glimmer of hope as the Ministry of Transport is vigorously in discussions with the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to bring clarity to some of the provisions in the Income Tax Amendment, 2012, (Act 1066) that appears to be increasing cost to transport owners and drivers.

A statement jointly signed and issued in Accra by the General Secretary, GPRTU, Mr. Godfred Abulbire and the General Secretary, Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTC), Mr. Emmanuel Ohene Yeboah, for and on behalf of the road transport operators said the Act in its current form suspends the payment of Vehicle Income Tax (VIT) for taxis and trotro but its application has been shrouded with some ambiguities.

“The VIT constitutes part of the cost build-up for the determination of fares. We have, therefore commenced discussions with the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority, to bring clarity to the application of the Vehicle Income Tax”, the statement in part read.

SOURCEBy thecustodianghonline.com/Stephen Odoi-Larbi
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