By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Citizens should not look forward to any immediate reductions in public transportation and electricity costs, officials from the Minibus Union and the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) have advised.
Guyanese have called for the reduction in the cost for transportation and electricity tariffs following the reduction by 30% in gasoline and diesel prices.
When contacted on Tuesday, January 20, President of the United Minibus Union, Eon Andrews said he believes the reduction in fares would be a reasonable move but cautioned that it was not something that should be expected immediately.
He said too that it was not something he could unilaterally decide on but believes commuters should benefit from the reduction.
“Whether it comes in the form of bus fare reduction or otherwise, it has to be ventilated bilaterally with the government representative agencies,” he told iNews; adding that “there would have been increases in fuel and vehicle parts and other related things that have the industry moving and there wasn’t any urgency to increase fares.”
He said the Union is always open to negotiations and will endeavor to ensure the travelling public and all other stakeholders benefit from the reduction but “to say it will drop immediately is not a normal thing to do.”
He said other alternatives ways in which the public could benefit is by allowing pensioners to travel free and school children to enjoy special fares.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of GPL, Bharrat Dindyal also informed that a reduction in tariffs would not occur immediately, if at all.
He told iNews that first the low prices will have to be sustained and a licensing process, involving the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) would have to be undertaken.
Gas price was reduced from $995 per gallon to $695, representing a 30% reduction. Diesel price was also reduced by 30%, from $985 to $694 and Kerosene saw a reduction of 42%, from $850 to $496.
Also,gasoline will now attract excise taxes at a rate of 50% and diesel at a rate of 42% with effect from January 20.
Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, who made the announcement on Monday, said government has desisted from price regulation in the transportation sector.
He said the administration has allowed the market to function as it should while using moral suasion to persuade operators to bring prices down or keep it at an affordable level.
“While the option of regulation can never be ruled out it can’t happen overnight,” Dr. Singh said; noting that the administration will rely on moral suasion than anything else.