“In fact to be frank, all the drivers and vehicle owners are against the move and for many valid reasons too,” The president of the Gambia Transport Agriculture Food and Industrial Workers Union, Mustapha Jobe, has said complaning about the recent announcement by the ministry of trade to reduce fares across the country.
“In the first place the consultative talks initiated by the ministry on the matter was not adequately exhausted and therefore the decision was rushed and it should be revisited to consider the concerns of the drivers,” Mr Jobe told The Standard yesterday.
The Union president argued that fuel prices have been increased many times in the past few years without any corresponding increases in fares and the last time fares were increased the fuel price was D42 per litre.
“It stays at that price up to now, so how do you justify fare reductions?” he asked.
Mr Jobe further explained that fare reductions should not only be linked to fuel prices alone as there are so many other factors that should be considered. “If you reduce fares you have affected the salaries of the drivers because they cannot get a salary increment as they will not bring enough turnover and also the prices of spare parts and vehicles maintenance costs are not reduced either. Can the government assure us that it is going to reduce the charges mechanics and spare parts sellers are asking?” Jobe teased the authorities.
The unionist also challenged the authorities to explain why the reduction in fares was not extended to the GTSC, the bus company or the ferries since they too are buying fuel at the same price.