An economist with CK Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences, Bismark Osei, has proposed the constitution of what he calls a “National Price Negotiation Board” to influence pricing and control what many consider outrageous prices being charged by business owners.
Speaking on Daybreak Upper East show, Mr. Osei said a National Price Negotiation Board will give consumers, producers and all the stakeholders the opportunity to negotiate prices of goods and services for the mutual benefit of both consumers and producers.
He said, “when it comes to fuel prices, whenever the fuel prices go up, the government and the transport operators negotiate on how transport fees are supposed to go up. I’m also thinking that there should be a price negotiation board that can also look at the prices of goods and services. So that when the prices are supposed to go up, by what margin should they go up and when they are supposed to come down, what margin should they be? For instance, at the beginning of the year, prices of goods and services go up two or three times, I feel that some [ traders] are taking advantage of consumers. If there is a price negotiation board, maybe the ministry of trades and industries and GUTA will sit down to determine how the price is supposed to go up. So when prices were supposed to come down, they could have sat down and negotiated how prices could come down. Going forward, these are some of the things we have to see to, so that we can have the ministry [trades and industries] and GUTA together with other stakeholders coming together to form this board.”
His position on the issue was however strongly contested by the Deputy Upper East Regional Communication Director of the NPP, Andrew Atariwini. Speaking on the same platform, Mr. Atariwin explained that Ghana’s free market system would not allow the government to intervene in pricing of goods in the suggested manner.
“He spoke about the government engaging the people who sell to stop the needless profiteering and he is proposing a Price Board for regulation almost like the way we have in the transport sector. The unfortunate aspect of this is that we have chosen to run a free market system, so you cannot pin these people down,” he said.
Mr. Atariwini encouraged customers to shun traders who engage in needless profiteering, saying, “it is rather for us, as consumers, to take initiative. In the market, you would notice that regardless of the price hikes and the inconsiderate pricing character of some of our traders, there are some people who are reasonable in their pricing. Take time and go through [the market] and abandon those who think they can make profit out of the system. That would be the way.”
“Government is already looking at an opportunity to push off every responsibility to the private sector, to the market, so that they can sort themselves out,” he added.
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana