Minister-designate for Financial and Allied Institutions, Mr. Fifi Kwetey has mounted a vociferous campaign for the removal of fuel subsidies.
He said the authorities must have the courage to discard the old politics of playing the ostrich, bite the bullet and remove the subsidies which are keeping the prices of petroleum products artificially low.
Answering questions before Parliament’s Appointments Committee Thursday, the immediate past deputy Finance Minister said it was about time both the governing National Democratic Congress and the opposition New Patriotic Party publicly admitted that the current practice where for political expediency, fuel prices are kept artificially low, was no longer sustainable.
“I think across the political divide (I say so because I’ve engaged the NPP on this and I cross that divide) there’s an understanding that this issue must be tackled head on. The NDC had the privilege of governing 8 years, then opposition for 8, now we’re back, and on both sides we know we must have the courage to deal with the subsidy. We must not be ostriches. We’re inflicting more damage on the people than we’re helping. We create the impression we’re cushioning them at the pump, but we need to borrow money or get Bank of Ghana financing for this, which leads to inflation which affects prices and incomes, things that critically affects the poor, who really want access to critical infrastructure like water, electricity, roads, clinics. We are using millions if not billions of cedis that end up cushioning those in urban areas while those who really need the infrastructure are being denied,” he stated.
Government must necessarily ignore the noise that may be made by urban dwellers and do what is necessary; slowly remove them (subsidies) and improve public transport to better serve urban poor, he said. “Let’s subsidize public transport, but not fuel,” he added.