By Elesha George
Beginning today, registered fishermen, bus drivers and taxi operators are expected to benefit from a 25 percent reduction in the cost of fuel for the next 30 days.
The decision to subsidise fuel at gas stations is meant to provide some relief to commuters who would otherwise have to bear the increased cost of gasoline and diesel prices.
It is a further reduction for bus drivers who received reduced fuel prices to make up for the shortage of passengers they could shuttle during the Covid pandemic.
Cabinet spokesman, Minister Melford Nicholas, said officials at the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC), the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board and the Ministry of Finance have all been consulted regarding the change.
“Because of the impact of their trade on the rest of the economy, we deemed it necessary to provide a subsidy equivalent to approximately 25 percent on the cost of fuel for the particular consumers,” he noted.
The subsidy will initially last for 30 days, at which time the Cabinet will review the price hike. It is expected that the revenue which the government collects in Consumption Tax could also be lowered at that time.
The increase – $15.70 per gallon for gasoline, up from $12.50, and $15.50 per gallon for diesel, up from $12.20 – took effect on Tuesday morning.
On Wednesday, bus drivers at the West Bus Station Terminal told Observer that they were disappointed with the sudden increase, calling it “madness” and “criminal”.
Patrick Burnett, Chairman of the Public Transportation Union (PTU), said members were expected to attend a meeting last night to address the recent news.