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Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has expressed concern about the impact of rising fuel prices amid the latest hike in the cost of gasoline, diesel and LPG locally.
The new prices went into effect Monday.
“We do not control the price of fuel,” he told reporters, adding that the cost of the commodity is going up in every country.
“In Saint Lucia, the price went up by one dollar from today, and that is because the government is concerned that if we collect the revenue that we projected to collect from fuel prices, the fuel price would have been about $19.95,” the Castries East MP explained.
He recalled that the former Allen Chastanet administration’s budget estimated collecting four dollars in revenue on every gallon of gas, increasing it from $2.50 when the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) was in power.
“That $1.50 ostensibly ought to have been in a lockbox where the lockbox would have been used to repair roads. I have been Minister of Finance for eight months and I have not seen that lockbox at all,” Pierre disclosed.
“I don’t know if it is hidden, but I have not seen that lockbox. Right now at the current price of fuel the government revenue is about 80 cents on average which means even at the 2:50 we are subsidising oil basically in terms of the revenue by 80 cents minus 2.50, which is 1.70 if my arithmetic is correct,” he told reporters.
“And if we had to price the oil at the four dollars revenue that was projected by the last government we’re actually losing $3.20 on revenue,” the PM stated.
“So whereas I understand and I feel very concerned about the effects of the price of fuel it really is inevitable, and the government is taking a real hit on revenue because we are insisting that we keep the price at a level,’ he expressed.
“People will complain, and I expect people to complain. They have a right to complain because it’s affecting their pocketbooks, but the fact is we are actually losing revenue to ensure that the price doesn’t go to any level where it becomes like in Barbados it is actually $20 a gallon,” Pierre told reporters.
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