For the next five months, Barbadians will pay the same price for diesel and gasoline at the pump, with Government set to absorb any increase over the indicated prices.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on Monday announced there will be a cap on fuel prices from August 19 through January 31, 2023, with gasoline to retail at $4.48 per litre and diesel at $4.03 per litre. If prices fall below the cap, the savings will be passed on to consumers.
Speaking in a public address to the nation at Ilaro Court, Mottley said the decision was made with the view that the Barbadian public needed to be shielded from the global rising cost of fuel.
“We believe that we will manage that process (the rising and falling of prices) but that for the consumer, you have to have some level of predictability. For those whose living depends on it, whether you are public service vehicle operators, taxi operators, fishermen, whoever you are, we are going to cap that price at the pump so as to give you that area of predictability and we are going to do that between now and next January 31st.”
The cap will see a reduction of 35 cents on August’s gas price of $4.83 and diesel will drop by 25 cents from $4.28.
It was also announced that the capping of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on crude oil at US $80 dollars a barrel will be extended to at least January 31st. This has led to a decrease of 26 cents per litre on diesel and 22 cents per litre on gasoline.
In response to a question from the media, Mottley said the system of paying road tax at the pump would continue because not only did it reduce delinquency, but people paid according to what they used. Those who use the road more, pay more.
Previously, the Prime Minister announced a reduction on the VAT on electricity bills.
“These are the kinds of things that we will continue to do, to tweak and to make sure that we can make Barbadians more comfortable. Will it bridge the whole gap? No it won’t; but will it make more people more comfortable and more capable of keeping their heads above water? Yes it will.”
Mottley also addressed the compact signed with the private sector which would be offering a price reduction on 44 essential items from July 21 to January 31, 2023.
“We recognise that there has been a lot of debate on all ranges of items and all cost of living items. Let me be very simple and very clear. We can’t bring down the prices of everything, but we felt that we had an obligation to deal with the samples and it is those samples that we will continue to have the monitoring and the reporting to Cabinet as well as the other stakeholders within the Social Partnership.”
Mottley stressed that she was well aware of the struggles that Barbadians are facing right now, particularly with regards to their finances, but wherever the Government can pass on any benefits to the public, it will do so. However she added that there is a lot that happens in the world that is beyond the control of her administration.
“When this year started we did not expect a war between Russia and Ukraine and the extent to which that would have an impact on fuel and food prices but equally in the last month or so we’ve seen that food prices in the market have settled a lot once there was a determination that they could try to bring grain out of the Ukraine. The world in which we live is extremely volatile, but as far as possible, we are going to protect and shield Barbadians from the majority of what they can otherwise face,” the Prime Minister said. (JC)