Ahead of the presentation of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy in Parliament on Wednesday 17th November 2021, stakeholders in the transport sector have been sharing thoughts on how best government can run the sector with various interventions.
The forum, which was organized on Thursday November 11, 2021 by the Center for Policy Scrutiny (CPS), a policy Thank Tank brought together heads of unions within the transport sector to discuss and proffer solutions on how government can continuously support the sector.
Organized under the theme: “the Balance between Affordability and Funding Public Transport Interventions,” the forum was attended by the General Secretary of the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council, Emmanuel Ohene Yeboah, General Secretary of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Godfred Abulbire and an Economist and Research Fellow with the Center for Social Policy Studies, Dr. Kwadwo Poku.
The deliberation which centered on taxes on petroleum products, best approach to pay for public road development and whether taxes should be passed on to passengers saw panelists share their views on what government needs to do to make the transport sector efficient.
Mr. Abulbire in his submission indicated that his outfit has always maintained that for government to continue to provide good road infrastructure for Ghanaians, there has to be an increase in roads tolls. He said compared to other countries, Ghana pays the least road tolls in the world hence, it is about time government considers an increase to carter for the numerous road projects it is embarking on.
He also suggested a restructuring in our public transport architecture. He said the country’s public sector for years has been saddled with mismanagement and has long lacked constant injection of funds to make it efficient. He said government must take full control of the sector and implement policies that will see the transformation of the sector.
On his part Mr. Yeboah was indifferent on the issue of taxes on petroleum products explaining that much as Ghanaians are bearing the brunt of the increment in fuel prices owing to the increase in crude oil prices on the world market, government also needs revenue to go about its business.
He however suggested that though government needs revenue, it will be proper if government considers removing some of the petroleum taxes that have “outlived their usefulness” to ease the burden on Ghanaians.
Dr. Poku was of the view that government should consider subsidizing public transport usage such that it will increase its patronage. He said government should open the transport sector such that it will invite private participation. This he said will decrease the transportation burden on government and free up funds for other critical sectors of the economy.