The member of parliament for the Okaikwei North Constituency in the Greater Accra region, Theresa Lardi Awuni, has asked the government to reduce fuel prices to help enforce social distancing protocols in commercial buses (trotro).
A statement issued by the lawmaker indicated that “in the wake of the recent escalation in our country’s coronavirus cases, one of the vital tools for risk reduction and to slow down the spike is for strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols, especially social distancing.
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“Majority of our population use public transport on daily basis to commute from and to work, for their business engagements, etc. It is, therefore, an undeniable fact that with the sort of sitting arrangement we have in our commercial vehicles, they are fertile ground for the breeding and escalation of the novel Coronavirus”, the statement added.
The statement continued: “We recalled, the President announced the following measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 in March 2020 i.e. All passenger carrying-vehicles including taxis seating 1-3 passengers on a row shall seat not more than two passengers on a row. All passenger carrying-vehicles seating 1-4 passengers on a row shall seat not more than three passengers on a row. All passenger-carrying vehicles seating 1-5 passengers on a row shall seat not more than three passengers on a row. It must be noted that, when that decision was taken, our case count was considerably low as compared to recent times. In addition, during the period of the restrictions last year, 2020, the prices of fuel globally were on the decline”.
“Currently there is no observation of Social distancing in commercial vehicles even though the spread of COVID-19 is on the rise.
“Moreover, the global prices of Crude oil and petroleum products continue to increase, forcing local Gasoil and Gasoline prices to rise by over 10% in the past few weeks to average GHS 23 per gallon.
“It is for these important indicators including the appeal from my constituents that l humbly seeks to make this statement for the President as a matter of urgency to re-enforce the restriction and limitation of the number of passengers carried by commercial vehicles and back it by absorbing 15% of the cost of fuel to ease the burden on transport operators, who had to comply with Social distancing protocols.
“I call on His Excellency the President to extend same price reductions to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) which is vital to women in cooking for our husbands and children and most importantly this is supposed to bring some relief for households even as schools re-opens”, the statement further noted.
Madam Lardi Awuni, therefore, called on the government to “consider taking necessary steps at the various bus stations to aid in the sensitization of the public and commuters against Covid-19 as those places are very delicate places for escalation of the disease in the country”, while urging the continuous handwashing practice, using sanitizers, mask-wearing, and social distancing.