Shipment term

Decision on fuel prices to be made on next delivery, government says

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By Orville Williams

[email protected]

Motorists will have to wait for the next shipment of fuel to arrive in the country to find out if there will be a change in the price at the pump.

That was said by Cabinet Spokesperson, Information Minister Melford Nicholas, at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press conference.

The cost of fuel has been volatile, not only here in Antigua and Barbuda but around the world over the past few months, due to uncertainty in the global oil market caused by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February.

Since then, several countries – including the US, UK and, closer to home, Jamaica – have reported record prices, and the situation seems to be getting worse in these territories and others every week. .

By contrast, the situation in the twin island nation has been relatively stable, although the price of gas rose on March 15 from EC$12.50 to EC$15.70 per gallon, with residents currently paying EC$15.15 EC$ per gallon, after the price was reduced by 55 cents. .

“It is too early to say [whether there will be any further changes]. We had the conversation with [West Indies Oil Company CEO] Mr. Gregory Georges yesterday, and while there are indications that there may be some stability, or perhaps not as much price fluctuation, it is too early to make a decision at this stage.

“Once the delivery gets here and the prices are locked in, the WIOC and the Ministry of Finance will be able to make those final decisions,” Nicholas revealed.

In the United States, lawmakers in some states have moved to suspend or remove petrol taxes to provide relief to consumers, with similar measures implemented in the UK in March.

The government of Antigua and Barbuda has also made efforts to ease the burden on its residents, especially as many households are still reeling from the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Minister of Information, while these efforts are commendable, it remains to be seen how much more can be done in this regard.

“You will recall the last time we landed fuel, the government absorbed the impact and we continued to subsidize the cost of diesel by about 71 cents per gallon.

“And of course we were also giving a subsidy to bus drivers and taxi operators to make sure we could have minimized the impact these fuel hikes would have had on local inflation.

“We think we’ve done pretty well with that, so the next expedition will have to figure out how we’re going to get through that particular space,” Nicholas said.

Experts estimate that gas prices around the world are likely to remain high for several more weeks – depending on the situation in Eastern Europe – with headline inflation also expected to remain high for the foreseeable future.

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