Sunday, January 15, 2012

Of Fuel prices, African governments and useless education

Yes, first I think we're wasting time on our public university education. I mean, lets just dump all that money into the bank accounts of the populace for them to find good use for. OK now to business. Here in Ghana, about a decade ago, the government decided to deregulate the petroleum downstream sector, leaving private oil marketing companies to lift and price crude as per demand and supply.

It was not a bad idea in and of itself, except that those greedy apes only implemented just one side of that logical deregulation economics. You see, if the government is going to peg the price of petroleum products to the world crude price, then a measure must be put in place to cushion the overwhelming poor against the incredible greed of private transport operators.

Now let's backpedal a little. Fuel subsidies, never ever get to the poor. No, it always goes to subsidize the rich, you know, those who ride the latest Mercedes and BMWs, those are the beneficiaries of fuel subsidies, not those of us who rely on private transport operators. So if a government says it's taking away subsidies, I fully agree with them.

But, to make deregulation and subsidy removal fair and equitable, the government has a responsibility to cushion end users from private transport operators by providing subsidized and efficient government owned transportation. Ghana's own Metro Mass Trans service was a good attempt at that, except that so far it's been a massive flop. Yea, a ground breaking flop.

If government owns the trans service, it can subsidize the prices charged commuters who patronize it. This will cushion commuters from a continuous escalation of crude prices on the world market. Rather than subsidize fuel, subsidize the cost of transportation through your own bus system. Doing so will mean two things: if you're 'poor' you go with the government trans, if you have your own car and can afford the non-subsidized fuel price on the deregulated market, go for it. Win win for all. 

But for a government to callously say they're removing subsidy and deregulating the petroleum downstream sector without putting in place any measure to cushion the majority of the populace is both immoral and a waste of our educational budget.

Listen to the radio and none of the so called panelists who discuss the economics of fuel ever mention public transportation from the government, they keep beating about the bush, wallowing in their self adoration, spewing even more rubbish and mis-educating an already ill educated populace. Why can't any of our so called economists and financial experts ask the government to revamp the rail sector? Why isn't anybody asking the whereabouts of all those once shiny yellow, Yutong buses that were for MMT service? 

What is the essence of our university education system if it will keep training people to become members of the Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana? Let's count the thousands of people that graduate every year from the University of Ghana alone with degrees in Economics, and then see if those degrees are being of any benefit to society? It's more than unfortunate to have self elevated experts sit on radio and spew out lots of garbage about the economics of fuel without once ever mentioning what the real solution is. 

Again, what is the essence of our educational system if we can't ask government to get its fuel economics right to make life a little bearable for us tax paying law abiding citizens? 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sinaisix

    Although I have not yet been to Ghana I am interested in your country and enjoy reading your posts.

    I am currently doing some research into sakawa, and I have a question. To what extent will sakawa be an issue in this year's elections? Are there votes to be won in promising action against sakawa? Or do the political parties think that a) this is not an immediate priority; or b) that any commitments would be too hard to fulfil.

    I would be very grateful for your thoughts on this.

    Best wishes,



You probably disagree with me on this post, but please do so in a civilized and matured manner. Thanks