Members of Ghana’s lawmaking body have expressed displeasure over what they described as unacceptable exorbitant air fares charged in the country.
According to them, there is a yawning difference between air fares that are charged in Ghana and those in Europe, making it highly expensive for people to travel in and out of the country.
The lawmakers were contributing to a statement titled ‘Ghanaian consumers need protection’ on the floor of Parliament by the MP for New Juaben North, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang observed that traveling from London to New York, a seven-hour flight could cost as little as $400 whereas a two-hour flight from Accra to Freetown cost $850 (economy class) and journey to Abidjan from Accra, less than an hour flight cost $450 (economy class).
The former minister of state under the Kufuor administration in charge of various portfolios including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration noted some banks, mobile telecom operators and car and spare parts dealers, among others, exploit consumers by slapping unscrupulous charges and fees on their services.
He said for instance vehicles with high specifications are sold 25 percent less than those in Ghana, stressing that spare parts sold by car dealers are also sometimes three times the cost in the countries of manufacture although custom duties are paid on declared lower values.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang bemoaned the wide disparity between prime rates and interest rates charged by banks, calling for drastic measures to protect Ghanaian consumers.
While urging the civil society to rise up and make their voices heard, he called for an ombudsman to ensure fair trade practices in Ghana.
By Awudu Mahama