By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
The Ministry of Transport says the process of collecting data for a nation-wide transportation fares to reflect the current economic realities will not be completed for publication until two months as of yesterday, August 18, 2014.
The Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Transport, Levi Demmah warned those bent on arbitrarily increasing transportation fares from county to county to desist as the Ministries of Transport and Commerce are looking critically into every concern.
Addressing the publication of The New Approved Transportation fares for taxi and buses in Monrovia and its environs yesterday, Min. Demmah said individuals are creating negative picture portraying that government is insensitive to the plights of commuters, passengers and road users; describing it as an ‘erroneous perception.’
Flanked by the acting Minister of Commerce, Cyril Allen II and the Secretary General of the Federation of Road Transport Union (FRTU), Min. Demmah said the fact is macro-economic decision-making requires collection of data as well as consultation between and amongst stakeholders noting, “Especially for this purpose, the Ministry of Commerce and others should have inputs before finalization.”
He also used the briefing to inform the public that sustained consultations must be held as in the case with the release of the temporary regulation 002/’14 relative to the reduction of occupancy of passengers that commercial drivers and private personal car owners carry at most one person in the front seat and three on each back seat.
He said the regulation covers motorcycles carrying one passenger at a time while tri-cycles carry not more than three persons at a time; “and that is a cooperation that is taking effect but what remains most interesting is that some commercial drivers have hiked transportation fares beyond imagination to the disadvantage of commuters,” he told journalists.
“This action is not sanctioned by us. This has caused and continues to cause undue hardship on citizens. The approved transportation fare is now out for public awareness and it is not for sale,” Minister Demmah clarified.
Representing the FRTU, its Secretary General, Joe Willie promised that they will adhere to the new approved transportation fares and urged every stakeholder in the transport-fare sector to learn to share this responsibility.
Mr. Willie called on the government to stabilize the prices of petroleum products looking at the instability of the United States dollars to the country’s currency adding that it is their hope that as the reduction in transportation prices are upheld, prices of other essential commodities will also be stabilized so that commercial drivers cannot become disenchanted thinking that government is exerting such measures only on them.