Mr. Samuel Kwarteng, Managing Director of Samdiana Printing Press, in Sunyani, has called on the Government to use part of profits accruing from oil revenue as subsidy for crude oil imported into the country.
Sharing his views on the recent increase in fuel prices in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani, he said subsidy on crude oil by the Government could help lessen the burden and hardships of Ghanaians in the wake of periodic increments in fuel prices.
Mr. Kwarteng said: “The current increase in fuel prices has affected business operations so much, including others in the print industry. We purchase most of our raw materials including A4 papers and ink from Kumasi and Accra to run our printing machines. We also have to buy fuel and the fuel price increase has adversely affected the cost of transportation and production”.
He recommended to the Government to put in place a mechanism that would allow for increases in fuel prices every two years rather than what the situation pertains currently.
Mr. Kwarteng said: “The way the government occasionally brings up these increases makes us think they don’t have the welfare of the people at heart. The government is not helping the private sector. Fuel is the bloodline of the nation so its increment should be done in such a way that the effect will be mitigated to reduce the hardship on Ghanaians.”
Mr Kwarteng expressed concern that he had not yet paid last December salaries for his workers and was wondering how he could pay for January too.
He said: “We are not trying to suggest to the government not to increase fuel prices, but to look at other alternatives like how they can widen the tax net and put into place appropriate procedures that would ensure effective and efficient mobilization of taxes that would be used to subsidize the importation of crude oil”.
Mr Kwarteng called on the authorities to ensure that loans were made easily and readily available.
He said: “We desperately need these facilities because the business must grow so we can employ other people to help address the unemployment problem in the country. But when you make these loans difficult to access things become hard and we are unable to expand and employ others.”
The high interest rate makes it difficult for us to pay utilities and workers. The Ghana Commercial Bank also demands property lease as a guarantee or collateral security for one to qualify for loan”.
Mr Kwarteng appealed to the Government to support the private sector since there were several alternatives it could adopt to help the sector to grow.