Gas stations say “too soon” or “not obligated” to lower prices

Prices at the Shell, GuyOil and Rubis gas stations as of today, March 24, 2022

Following Wednesday’s announcement of the removal of excise tax on the importation of fuel, government had expressed hope that prices at the pumps would have been reduced from as early as today.

INews visited several service stations in Georgetown and along the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) corridor where the prices remain the same.

Several managers explained that it is too soon to lower the prices but could not indicate when a change would take place while some made it clear that privatised entities are not obligated to adjust their prices.

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo had on Wednesday announced that the excise tax on the importation of fuel will be reduced to zero with immediate effect – in a move intended to ease the burden on the global rise in cost of living being experienced by locals.

It was Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat who expressed hopes that prices at the pumps would be lowered from as early as today.

As of today, GuyOil is still retailing gas at $245 per litre, Shell at $246 and $249 per litre, and Rubis at $244 per litre.

Diesel is being sold at $248 per litre at Rubis, $249 per litre at Shell and $255 per litre at GuyOil.

Speaking with this publication off the record, several gas station managers contended that it is too soon to lower the prices.

In fact, they explained that there is a process that needs to followed for the deduction of fuel prices.

One manager explained that in order for the prices at the pumps to be lowered, orders would have to be given directly from the company’s headquarters. This order would then be related to the accountant of the gas station, then to the manager who would give the greenlight for the deduction of fuel prices to consumers.

Another manager boldly told this publication that it is not compulsory for privatised gas stations to lower fuel prices, even if it the wish of the government.

Minister Bharrat had explained that regulatory agencies like the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) as well as the Office of the Prime Minister are responsible for ensuring gas stations comply with the requirement to decrease their prices.

He had also made a personal appeal to business owners to ensure their prices are adjusted now that they no longer have to pay this excise tax on fuel.

The removal of the excise tax on fuel comes amid the global rise in cost of living which is having a significant impact of Guyanese.