There has been a sharp rise in the prices of goods and services, especially food, petroleum products and household items in recent times. According to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the country’s official inflation rate jumped from 23.6% in April to 27.6%. The GSS blamed this astronomical increase on transport fares and the price of foodstuffs.
In the words of the government’s statistician, Prof. Kobina Annim, the inflation for transport (39%), household equipment (33.8%), housing and gas ( 32.3%) and food and non-alcoholic beverages(30.1%) were higher than the national average of 27.6%. The major drivers based on the year-on-year figures show that diesel saw an 81.1% inflation and firewood at 73.7%. Food items such as maize, corn flour, wheat flour, vegetable oil, groundnut oil, margarine and washing soap saw an average of 55% inflation.
Currently, food and transport fares are becoming more expensive for the average consumer to afford. Some businesses have also been compelled to close down as raw materials have become very expensive to buy.
A businessman, Godwin Amoah tells DFSLIVE NEWS he has to reduce production drastically and lay off some of his staff as he is struggling to break even and pay salaries. “I have sacked a lot of my workers. Things are expensive, I can’t even pay them. Too many taxes here and there. You buy something today, tomorrow the price doubles. I may soon close the business down totally” he said.
To make matters worst, Just yesterday, prices of fuel at the pumps have seen another major increment. Petrol currently goes for Ghc12 per litre whilst diesel sells for Ghc13.50 per litre at the pumps.
It’s worthy to note that, two major factors that account for the rise in fuel prices are the depreciation of the cedi and taxes. Petroleum products are mainly imported. The importers purchase the products in dollars and for that matter, a depreciation in the value of the cedi means more of it is needed to import a certain quantity. This invariably has a bearing on how much the product is sold. Taxes also play a major role in the price build-up. There are currently about twelve (12) different taxes and levies on petroleum products in the country. These taxes and levies include energy debt recovery levy, road fund levy, energy fund levy, sanitation and pollution levy, energy sector recovery levy etc. These taxes and levies compound to increase the final products at the pumps.
There are hints by the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) of about a 20% increment in transport fares in the coming days.
Another major product which has seen a sharp price rise is cement. A bag of cement is currently selling at about Ghc68 depending on the location. Speaking to DFSLIVE NEWS, most of the retailers attribute the hikes in the prices to the increase in fuel prices and transport fares.
DFSLIVE NEWS hit the streets of Accra to find out the impact of the economic crisis on the people of Ghana. Speaking to DFSLIVE NEWS, Emmanuel Ansah said his salary of Ghc850 a month can barely take him for one week. “I spend about Ghc20 on transport every day. I have a wife with 4 children. I can’t afford food. There are days we sleep with an empty stomach. The price of everything is just flying like that” he said. A small business owner who produces pastries confided in DFSLIVE NEWS that she’s unable to keep up with the rate of increase in prices of the raw products she uses for the business. “Everyday prices go up. You buy something for Ghc100 today, tomorrow it’s Ghc200. This is too much. My business is collapsing. I have never seen this in my life. Akuffo Addo and Bawumia can’t do the job. They are insensitive and don’t care about Ghanaians. They should step down for someone else to take over. We are dying. We can’t afford food, rent and bills. There are days my family and I go without eating”, he lamented
Obviously, Ghana is at a crossroad and requires drastic policies to save the economy from total collapse.