As of today, there will be a reduction in prices for gas at the pumps, as the Caribbean Community’s (Caricom) approval of the suspension of the Common External Tariff (CET) has led to a reduction in overall cost.
This announcement was made on Sunday through a joint statement from the Finance Ministry and the Guyana Oil Company (GuyOil). The reduction will apply to wholesale and retail gas prices.
“Starting February 4, 2019, Super 95 Gasoline will be wholesaled at $208.00 per litre or 27.44 per cent less, and Gasoil (LSD) at $207.00 per litre or 15.85 per cent less,” the statement said.
“Simultaneously, 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. These significant reductions are attributed to a decline in acquisition costs.”
The statement reminded that Government had approached Caricom for the suspension of the Common External Tariff after the closure of Petroleum Trinidad (Petrotrin). Petrotrin was previously Guyana’s main fuel supplier.
“Caricom’s subsequent approval would have also led to a reduction in acquisition costs. The Government, through The Guyana Oil Company, is therefore proud to cause these reductions to the benefit of all consumers.”
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 People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government, 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.”
The former Guyanese Head of State had recalled when the prices for crude oil stood at about US$75 per barrel, lower than the US$120 high, before the rapid tumble a few years ago to about US$28.
“We had argued that with the rapid tumble, the benefits should have been passed on to the Guyanese public, who would have seen lower prices at the pump and in their electricity bill. They never did that. And what happened was that they raked in billions in revenue; they collected over $25 billion at GPL alone.”
He had told the media that with the crude prices at about US$75 a barrel and not US$120, there was definitely room to make significant adjustments to the price of fuel at the pump.
Another point that has previously been raised by Jagdeo was the fact that under the PPP/C Government, GuyOil was used as a regulatory agency whereby the prices at the State-owned entity set precedence for other companies to follow.