Oct 04, 2022 News
– commuters appeal to Govt. to regulate taxi, minibus fares
Kaieteur News – Guyanese using public transportation have complained that despite the reduction in fuel prices minibus and taxi operators have refused to lower their fares, which they had jacked up due to the hike in gas prices.
Over the weekend Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh announced that at GUYOIL the gasoline price has been reduced by 20 percent from $269 per litre to $215 per litre and diesel price has been reduced by 15 percent from $265 per litre to $225 per litre. However, three days since the reduction, there has been no movement ion the fares. “20% should be taken off all fares. The government needs to ensure this happens. If you creating an ease on pockets it must be across-the-board. Such a significant reduction in fuel prices cannot happen and fares are still the same,” one man commented on social media on Monday. Another asked when would be fares be reduced, then answered: “They ain’t doing that. The gas price don’t even be up and the fare will be raising. A better system needs to be in place to monitor them…” he added.
Another citizens commented that without a regulatory agency with enforcement powers, everything else is lip service. “Where is the transport board a operator shouldn’t be the one to raise fare on his/ her public bus , and if this is what has been done then the Ministry of Transport should table a fair structure through Parliament. The price of gas needs to fixed, not one minute it up and the next minute it down. Also lubricants like oil and fuel filter, spark plugs, tyres etc should have a fixed price. Also passengers should have their correct fare and not wait till the mini bus pass all the gas stations, reach the bus park then they pulling out $5000 dollars and the bus conductor does not have change and they get a free ride. Also the price of cooking gas needs to drop it is too high right now. The government can bring in big buses if they so desire, no one is stopping them.”
On Monday the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) said it is heartened to learn of the decision regarding the reduction in fuel prices by the Guyana Oil Company Limited (Guyoil). The announcement which came over the weekend was greeted by many workers who expressed elation at the decision, FITUG said in a statement Monday. “The FITUG recognises that the escalation of fuel prices over the last few months was primarily influenced by external events of which we were an unwitting victim. We recognized the efforts of the Administration to reduce taxes on fuel to zero in an effort to mitigate the impact of the sudden price rises. This policy had it not been pursued would have made the bad situation even worse.”
According to the union in recent weeks, “we have observed, a gradual reduction in oil prices and had anticipated that such reductions would have reached our shores. Undoubtedly, the announcement by Minister Dr Ashni Singh demonstrates the active attention the Government is giving to address the cost-of-living of Guyanese. This is noteworthy and is an undoubted demonstration to the ordinary people. The Federation, at this time, anticipates that other fuel providers will follow suit and provide similar reductions to their customers. Similarly, we also expect that savings accruing to businesses, public transport operators and others will also be passed on to ordinary Guyanese. Our workers and their families are in need of such respite. The Federation notes other measures to address the cost-of-living in Guyana. The collective policies are aimed clearly at providing a cushion for the Guyanese people at this time of global upheaval and uncertainty,” the statement concluded.
Minister Singh in making the announcement on Saturday last stated that during the first half of 2022, global oil prices surged more than 50 percent, increasing from US$77 per barrel at the end of December 2021 to US$120 in June of this year; having risen as high as US$137 per barrel, primarily as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The impact of the dramatic increases in oil prices, according to the release, were significant and given the interconnected nature of the global economy, translated into higher cost of landing fuel in Guyana.
According to him in order to mitigate the impact of rising global fuel prices on domestic consumers and the productive sectors to which fuel is a key input, the Government lowered the Excise Tax rate on both gasoline and diesel from 10 percent to 0 percent in March of this year. It would be recalled that, previously, during the Budget 2022 presentation, the Government lowered the Excise Tax on both gasoline and diesel from 20 percent to 10 percent so as to minimise the impact of rising global oil prices, the release added. “The Government has been progressive(ly) lowering the Excise Tax rate on both gasoline and diesel, from 50 percent to 35 percent in February 2021, 35 percent to 20 percent in October 2021, in keeping with government policy to adjust the taxes on fuel, to mitigate the impact of rising fuel prices on the world market,” the release added.
Since resuming office in August 2020, the PPP/C Government has implemented a suite of measures to ease cost of living pressures and to improve disposable incomes, in an ongoing effort to address these issues head-on and to mitigate the effects of rising prices globally on all Guyanese citizens. The reduction in excise taxes, the release underscored, is one such measure within the wide menu of measures implemented by Government since assuming office.
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