Repatriation of millions of dollars by online Cab services taking toll on Ghana’s economy

Ghana's economy

By Yvonne Atilego & Antoinette Abbah

Project lead for Fair work Ghana and a lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Professor Richard Boateng, says the repatriation of millions of dollars out of the country daily by foreign ride-hailing companies was worrying. This he said was a contributory factor to the depreciation of the Cedi.

Professor Boateng who said this in an interview with GBC News at the 2022 launch of Fair work Ghana Report said research shows that about 2 million dollars is transferred monthly out of the country by uber, bolt and Glovo.

“When you take the fact that you earn ¢350. I think for that you trip you pay 25 percent. So, let’s say that in a day you make ¢350 that means that you kept 75%, 25% has gone. So, the platforms are making averagely a million dollars in a month, and the worker is making negatives.

GPRTU is not getting anything”, Professor Boateng said.

The Project lead, therefore, called on the government to put in place policies that will retain the money in Ghana or introduce a tax regime that will help the country rake in more revenue from these ride-hailing companies.

”I think the platform companies have to be taxed more. Or there should be certain conditions like the one we are having in they Tanzania, where they tell you that you either give them this particular rate or the country. Ride Sharing app is making money and the money is not locally domiciled for us. That two million will leave the country and go. So, if you want to see where our dollar is going and why we are going high this is one of the loopholes we need to block,” he added.

Professor Boateng suggested ways to seal the loopholes.

“You have over ten foreign companies or Suedo companies working through other companies in Ghana. Some of them are taking around five hundred thousand out of the country every month. And you are not seeing this and you are quiet. I don’t want us to get passionate here. I think there are more opportunities for Bank of Ghang to start looking. There are loopholes In the system that people are making cedis and turning it into dollars and taking it out of the country. But Ghanaians are being enslaved to get this work”.

A Female driver with one of the ride-hailing companies, and the Union Executive of National Digital Drivers Union, Elizabeth Ryan, said these foreign companies are only interested in their commission and not the welfare of workers”.

“In this current climate when you see fuel prices rising up these platforms insensitively don’t care. They get the 25 percent even if they charge one cedi. Whether that is sufficient for you to execute the job or not is immaterial which is wrong. It is clear that there has to be a system in place which is where the Fair work is so important because it is foreign organization as well which looks at regulating the way employers treat employees and also how investors who come in the country invest and use the labor force here”.

Madam Ryan also touched on the exploitation of online drivers.

“In this case it is clear that Uber, Bolt and Yango are exploiting the labor force here because we don’t get value for money. Drivers don’t earn the minimum wage. The worse part of it is that it is the insensitive nature of their exploitation”, he posited.

She said apart from unsafe work conditions they do not even earn the approved minimum wage. She, therefore, called on the government to ensure exploitation and ensure the foreign companies adhere to the laws of the country.

Madam Ryan was optimistic the Fair work Ghana Report will bring the necessary reforms in the industry.

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