Written by 1:02 am Food

Pm says more needed to guard Barbadians from rising fuel costs

For the second time in under six months, Government has put a cap on gas and diesel on the pump, bringing a much-needed ease from skyrocketing petroleum prices, not less than for the subsequent five months.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Monday evening announced that from Friday until January 31, 2023, Barbadians would pay not more than $4.48 per litre for gas or $4.03 per litre for diesel, whatever the price of oil on the international market.

The welcomed news means the present gas price of $4.83 per litre, which ranks because the third highest on this planet, can be lowered by 35 cents, while diesel which retails at $4.28 per litre can be reduced by 25 cents.

During a press conference at Ilaro Court, Mottley conceded that the previous cap on Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel had not worked in addition to intended, and admitted that more needed to be done to assist protect Barbadians from rising fuel costs.

“In March, after I addressed the country through the Budget speech I indicated then that we might look again at the problem of the capping of the Value Added Tax which we linked to the query of a price of crude oil at US$80 per barrel and we said that we might have a look at those arrangements inside the six-month period.

“After all we’re at five months now and…we’re satisfied that we’re going to need to keep that cap in place. That cap, for instance, had made the difference of 26 cents, I feel, on diesel in order that if that cap was not there the diesel price can be 26 cents per litre more and I feel it’s 22 cents with respect to gasoline,” Mottley identified.

“The reality, nonetheless, is that that cap there of itself isn’t necessarily proving to be enough and while things are difficult even for the Government we feel that we now have an obligation to shield Barbadians more.”

The Prime Minister said the choice was made following a gathering with the general public service vehicle (PSV) associations, Deputy Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw who’s answerable for the Ministry of Transport and Works, in addition to Senior Minister Kerrie Symmonds, who’s answerable for the Ministry of Energy.

Nevertheless, while communications, information and marketing officer of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Mark Haynes told Barbados TODAY he welcomed the news, he said he didn’t imagine the cap was enough.

He said the value of diesel was still too high and called for more attention to be paid to the sector.

“Well, we were hoping for higher but we’re thankful for what the Prime Minister has give you up to now. We hope that as we move forward that we will have a a lot better situation,” Haynes said.

“We offer an awesome service, but we don’t enjoy a coping subsidy, unlike the Transport Board, and the sector is deserving of a coping subsidy. I’m not overly joyful with the gas prices, I believe that they’re still high even with the cap but I thank the Prime Minister for having decided to cap it off until January. We hope that when January comes that we will get a greater result…. We cannot proceed on this vein unabated.”

Talking to the prices of food and essential items, the Prime Minister said while there was a basket of products for which supermarkets and retailers had agreed on price reductions, it was unattainable to “bring down all the things”.

Mottley said Government would proceed to observe and adjust the 45 items in that basket of products as obligatory.

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