The Guyana Oil Company (GUYOIL) has announced a reduction in gas prices which took effect from Monday last, but this move comes many weeks after oil prices would have dropped drastically on the international market leaving many to think that the move is nothing but a ‘political gimmick’.
According to the Finance Ministry and the Oil Company, the reduction will apply to wholesale and retail gas prices. Super 95 Gasoline will now be wholesaled at $208.00 per litre or 27.44 per cent less, and Gasoil (LSD) at $207.00 per litre which is 15.85 per cent less.
Meanwhile, retail customers will pay $218.00 per litre for Super 95 Gasoline or 30.77 per cent less and $217.00 per litre for Gasoil (LSD) or 19.72 per cent less.
The move to lower these prices came as a surprise to citizens, who expressed that it is seen as a ‘political stunt’ aimed at gaining political mileage, given the present situation the country is in following the toppling of the APNU/AFC Government via the no-Confidence vote on December 21.
Observers contend that the Government and GuyOil should have moved a long time ago to reduce the oil prices so that the benefits would have been passed on to consumers.
Government sought to indicate that this reduction came after CARICOM suspended the Common External Tariff following the closure of Petroleum Trinidad (Petrotrin).
The parliamentary Opposition has long called on Government, through GuyOil, to intervene in reducing gas prices. At a previous press conference, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had said that there is fiscal space to make the adjustment with the tax regime to allow a reduction of gas prices for local consumers.
Jagdeo had related that under the previous administration, there was a system used in cases like these, where the taxes can be adjusted based on the movement up or down of the gas price so that the benefits would be passed onto the people.
Given the mounting criticisms and the need for serious attention to be paid to the issue, the PPP/C General Secretary had said that “The Government through public pressure must adjust the rate at the pump. They have a lot of room. They have the fiscal space as well as the tax play to make that adjustment.”