Govt hopes prices at gas stations can be adjusted as early as tomorrow

A Shell Gas station at McDoom, East Bank Demerara

With the removal of excise tax on fuel, the Guyana Government is hoping that as early as tomorrow, the prices as gas stations across the country will be adjusted accordingly.

This was conveyed by Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat during an interview with this publication today.

“[We] expect that as early as possible…you know sometimes gas stations stock up on fuel…we’re hoping maybe as early tomorrow…to see that reduction,” Minister Bharrat posited.

According to him, 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.

“[They] would do some amount of checks and if possible, enforcement, to ensure there is compliance and that people actually enjoy the benefit of the zero tax on fuel in Guyana…I agree with you that sometimes when we provide incentives and reduce taxes, it is not usually filtered down to the end consumers,” the Minister accepted.

In this regard, he 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.

“So, I want to personally make an appeal to all service station owners…we know GuyOil would of course reduce their price…that we ensure this benefit reaches the consumer. It would not impact on your profit base because you’re not paying any tax but our consumers and users on the road should enjoy the benefit…also, for the commuters who use public transportation, we’re hoping that the taxi drivers and minibus drivers will not increase their fares,” Minister Bharrat posited.

According to the Natural Resources Minister, the Guyana Government is aware of the challenges Guyanese are facing as a result of the rising cost of living on the international scene.

“As the government, we recognise that there has been an increase in cost of living and this is a global issue, this is not confined to Guyana and there are a number of reasons we can give for the steep increase in cost of living…but as a government we don’t want to make excuse that it is not real; all Guyanese and people around the world are facing increase in cost of living.”

“We have seen after the war started, oil prices would have increased to over $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014 I believe…pre-covid, I think it was about $3000 to ship a container, today it’s probably close to about $20,000…so as a government, we recognise that the cost of living has increased because of these factors,” the Minister explained.

He added, “almost everything is linked to oil and gas, even fertilizers. We use gas to produce fertilizer…also the shipping cost to get it into Guyana because we don’t produce fertilizer, even the fish in the market and our fishermen they have to use fuel to go out and do their catch and come in back…that is why Vice President made the announcement today that we are going to take off tax totally from gas.”

Minister Bharrat also reminded that government had initially reduced the excise tax from 50% to 20% and then in Budget 2022, it was further reduced to 10%.

“I think the situation now warrants taking off the tax totally,” he posited.

GuyOil is currently 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.