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Economic Hardship: Gov’t urged to cushion citizens with affordable transport services

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Dr Priscilla Twumasi Baffour, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Ghana (UG), has asked the Government to retool various State transport systems to lessen the economic burden on the travelling public.

In October alone, drivers increased transportation fares three times to a cumulative 39 per cent after separate announcements in hikes in fuel prices, leading to a cumulative 58 per cent increment in transportation fares from January to date.

At a Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank breakfast meeting in Accra on Tuesday, Dr Baffour, who is an Economist, called on the Government to make State transport systems work effectively to cushion the transport cost of the poor.

She said it was during such challenging times of rising fuel prices that the poor felt the cost of transportation, which called for State interventions.

Dr Baffour, therefore, called on the Government to ensure that the State’s intra-city transport system worked effectively and affordable to cushion the poor and grow the economy.

“Some years back, we had instances where school-going children would board the busses for free and these are social interventions that we take for granted but they go a long way to protect people against hardship,” she said.

The Economist noted that the loan support programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to take Ghana out of the current economic hardship would come with some austerity measures.

Therefore, it was important for the Government to ensure that new taxes were not introduced in the 2023 budget.

She said it was also important for the Government to reduce the Electronic Transactions Levy (E-levy) from the current 1.5 per cent.

Dr Baffour called for support for Ghanaian businesses to thrive and said: “The cost of production is too high, and the reality is that Ghanaian manufacturing firms are not competitive.

“The cost of power (electricity) and cost of credit are expensive, and they (Ghanaian manufacturing firms) also complain about skilled labour, and we need to get to work at these issues,” she said.

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