By Makeida Antonio
One of local drivers’ worst nightmares is to become reality this week with fuel prices set to rise at the pumps.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced over the weekend that the government can no longer maintain the EC$12.50 gas price at pumps across the country.
“Probably Monday or Tuesday the latest, there will be an increase in the prices of gasoline and diesel and it’s definitely going to be in excess of 15 dollars. That is the reality of it; even just to make sure that we break even, we have to increase the price,” Browne said.
The move is in line with soaring oil prices following the February 24 invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Browne, who is also the Minister of Finance, detailed that the global increase of fuel prices has resulted in significant blows to Antigua and Barbuda’s revenue – on top of the losses endured throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It will be good if the government could get at least two and a half million dollars or two million dollars a month so that it can continue to meet some of its obligations, especially during this period in which revenues are already down by 20 percent – and to take a further hit would be very difficult,” he outlined.
Residents are being advised by PM Browne to be economical with their driving patterns to help alleviate the squeeze many pockets will feel as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“Motorists just have to conserve the use of fuel now, and bus drivers and so on will be a little concerned. We are hoping that this is just a temporary situation and that this war in Ukraine will not protract and that is one of the things that we said early about this war, you know, we want it to end as soon as possible,” Browne said.
Yesterday, crude oil prices stood at around US$110 per barrel.
During the Prime Minister’s weekly press appearance, he also warned of the very likely possibility of food price inflation due to the fallout in Europe.