Over a dozen minibus operators on Thursday morning blocked the Vryheid’s Lust public road on the railway embankment as they continue to protest the “steep” hike in fuel prices which they say is affecting their livelihoods and their ability to make a profit daily.
They minibus operators and owners say if the Government will not intervene and cause an immediate reduction of the fuel prices, they will unilaterally increase the fares paid by passengers by at least 20 dollars depending on the route and distance.
Moreover, this publication was informed that the East Coast minibus operators have converged on the Lusignan tarmac where they are currently protesting.
State-owned, Guyana Oil Company Limited (GuyOil ) Service Stations have increased their gasoline prices from $200 per litre, to $230, while diesel and kerosene have leaped to $214 per litre and $145 per litre, respectively.
In a statement on the increases, Guyoil said it is holding the line with its gas price despite crude oil reaching four-year highs.
While noting that local prices for gasoline have not reached the highs of early 2015 when it was retailing at $263 per litre and diesel was at $260, Guyoil said as “an importer, Guyana has historically been vulnerable to oil price shocks. World prices have shot up in recent weeks mainly due to the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal.”
It was outlined that “impending sanctions against the oil producer which had ramped up production since 2016 would mean one million barrels per day being taken off world supplies. Brent crude oil topped $80 a barrel for the first time since 2014 in mid-May.”
On Wednesday, the The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), as well as the Private Sector made calls for Government to intervene and put measures in place to ensure the effects are not filtered to businesses and consumers.
However, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin was quoted as saying that the matter is yet to be discussed by Cabinet.
As the prices continue to increase, operators within the transportation sector have begun increasing their fares for passengers to travel.
Just recently, Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Irfaan Ali had urged the coalition Government to give some serious consideration into reducing the high prices of fuel on the market.
Ali recalled when his party, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) was in Government, they had constantly adjusted the tax regime to cushion the effects of fluctuation in fuel prices on the international market.
He said this was aimed at ensuring that all Guyanese were protected from increases in their expenditure.