NEWS COMMENTARY ON HANDING OVER OF BUSES TO GPRTU
A reliable road sector helps in the effective transportation of goods and services as well as movement of people across the length and breadth of the country. This means that an effective road sector helps in the promotion of business growth since various business operations cannot take place without an effective transportation system. It is against this background that the decision of the previous government, under the leadership of former President, John Mahama, to import buses for the Ghana Private Roads Transport Union, GPRTU to help in their operation was seen as a good initiative. However, on arrival in the country, the prices of the buses were found to be exorbitant and unbearable to the drivers and transport owners the government intended to assist. Each bus was priced at not less than 705 thousand Ghana Cedis. It was therefore difficult for members of the GPRTU to accept the offer and use the vehicles for commercial operations under an arrangement to pay later over a period of time. It was for this reason that the buses were abandoned in the last quarter of 2016 until now when the present government came in to settle the issue.
President Akufo-Addo supported by the Chief of Staff Hon. Frema Osei-Opare, the Ministry of Finance, Honourable Ken Ofori-Atta, and the leadership of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre, MASLOC decided to drastically reduce the prices by not less than 53 percent to make it easy for the GPRTU to take over the buses and profitably operate them to provide the essential services needed in the transportation sector. What this means is that instead of allowing the buses to go waste, leading to financial loss to the state, the buses will now be put to good use to ensure that any form of wastage is prevented from occurring. Secondly, this arrangement will strengthen members of the GPRTU to embark upon effective operations in the road sector to generate more employment and income for its members. Thirdly, it shows that the current administration is not interested in shortchanging Ghanaians or exploiting them for its selfish end. It’s therefore not surprising that members of the GPRTU have expressed joy and happiness at the turn of events since their interest is best served under the current arrangement. What is expected is for the leaders of the GPRTU to reciprocate this gesture by the Akufo-Addo administration through hard work and honest operations to pay for the cost of the buses so as to encourage government, in line with its promise to them, to order more buses for them in the near future. One thing stands out clearly and it is that honesty, transparency and goodwill are what are always needed to carry out the smooth conduct of affairs in the country. Once we keep to these virtues, there will be no obstacle that cannot be overcome. The GPRTU in particular and Ghanaians as a whole are happy about this development since it signifies the commitment of the current administration to remain committed and sensitive to the needs of all Ghanaians. It is our hope that the buses will be maintained to provide some comfort to passengers.
BY: DR. KOFI AMPONSAH-BEDIAKO, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, GHANA STANDARDS AUTHORITY