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Guyana has begun to feel the impact of the rising prices on the international scene.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

The prices of gasoline, dieseline and kerosene have once again risen at the pumps locally.

A check at a number of service stations yesterday revealed that gasoline is now retailing at in excess on $600 per gallon up from $582, and dieseline was $575 up from $417.

The new prices were effective from yesterday at most of the service stations.

At the Esso Service Station in Regent Street, kerosene was being sold at $126 per litre, up from $85; dieseline at $126 and gasoline at $133 per litre, up from $110 and $125 respectively.

The price for kerosene has seen the largest increase this time around.

Most service stations have increased the price for the commodity by between $35 and $70.

Yesterday, cooking gas was also being retailed for between $2,200 and $2,400, up from $2,150 per 20-pound cylinder.

Minister of Tourism, Trade and Industry, Manzoor Nadir, said that a number of factors have contributed to the rising fuel prices, among them the tension between the oil producing countries, the uncertainty about the development in Iraq and the recent spate of hurricanes.

Internationally, fuel prices rose to $51dollars a barrel on Tuesday.

Yesterday, the Minister told this newspaper that Cabinet has been apprised of the price increases and that the Prime Minister is examining the situation. He said given the hike in fuel prices internationally it was inevitable that the effects would eventually trickle down to Guyana , since the entire world has been affected.

Obviously, it is only natural that Guyana would also be negatively affected. The price at the pumps have increased because the fuel prices have been increased at the points of acquisition, said the Minister.

He added that in the past, Government tried to alleviate the effects of such hikes by lowering the consumption tax:

We have cut the consumption tax by 10 per cent to help such situations but you must realize that Government is also a user of fuel and further cutting of the consumption tax could impact negatively on the budget.

He acknowledged that the increased fuel prices could see increases in most commodities and services but stressed that minibus operators should not be asking for increased fares since the new fare structure that was recently implemented could more than compensate for this increase.

Meanwhile, the President of the Guyana Petrol Services Dealers Association (GPSDA), Steve Chung, is appealing to Government to address with urgency, the lowering of the consumption tax on gasoline and diesel.

Mr. Chung opined that the increased fuel prices are too excessive for consumers to handle.

Chung said that through the recommendation of the GPSDA Government is now gaining in excess of $200 million in extra revenue per month through systems of marking the fuel and the marked reduction of fuel smuggling.

He said that in addition, extra revenue is being garnered through the high acquisition costs of fuel.

Government gains when there is an increase in fuel prices. The higher the price of fuel, it's more tax for the government, since they receive tax on a percentage basis of the cost, Chung said.

He added that high fuel prices in times of economic hardships can result in increases in crime, failure of businesses and increased corruption

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