By Momodou Justice Darboe
The Gambia National Trade Union Congress (GNTUC) has called on the government to reduce fuel prices to compensate for revenue losses as a result of a regulation that requires all vehicles to carry only half of their capacity.
The body also wants the government to assess the impacts of the regulation on service providers and consumers so as to see whether it could be adjusted to ensure efficient service delivery without compromising the Covid-19 social-distancing protocol.
According to the GNTUC, in a statement signed by secretary general Ebrima Garba Cham, many drivers are currently out of work due to the regulation which is negatively impacting on the movement of people and goods.
“Many drivers have parked their vehicles because carrying half of their capacity will only [cause] them losses since fuel prices remain unchanged. On the other hand, some of the drivers are demanding exorbitant amount in transport fares to recover their losses from the reduced load. Now passengers are on the road unable to get transport. This is as a result of the breakdown of the tripartite consultation on impact assessment before the public emergency came into being,” the Union said.
The Union also expressed concern over the loss of revenue that many workers are confronted with and called on government to provide them with a solution.
“Workers should be given financial support for loss of earnings and the less-privileged should be given money, food supplies and equipment to prevent themselves and to cope with the situation. We are also appealing to landlords to waive rent payments whilst this unprecedented situation lasts,” the Union said.
The GNTUC also said it is worried that the loss of earnings and jobs as a result of the state of public emergency declaration will create more vulnerabilities in the country.