‘Bring relief to people over high gas prices’

By LYNAIRE MUNNINGS

lmunnings@tribunemedia.net

FREE National Movement deputy leader Shanendon Cartwright has urged the government to bring relief to Bahamians who are struggling with high gas prices.

With the price of gas at $7.39 per gallon at Esso stations, $6.98 at Rubis and $6.97 at Shell, Mr Cartwright said the “new day” government must ensure something is done.

“As gas prices continue to skyrocket and economic pressures continue to mount on the Bahamian economy, particularly on the pockets of struggling Bahamians, the government continues to play bystander and has taken a hands-off approach as the fuel crisis engulfs Bahamian motorists,” Mr Cartwright said in a press statement.

He urged the Davis administration to reduce the taxes it receives on fuel imports.

“The government enjoys the benefit of stamp tax and VAT on wholesale and retail purchases of fuel,” the member of Parliament for St Barnabas said.

On Tuesday, acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper told reporters that gasoline prices will continue to escalate “for the foreseeable future”.

Mr Cooper urged consumers to “conserve” as a means to ease the burden of higher cost.

“We anticipate that prices are going to be escalated for the foreseeable future and we simply have to conserve the way we would otherwise,” said Mr Cooper.

Amidst the ongoing oil disruption sparked from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mr Cartwright believes the government is able to reduce taxes on fuel.

Simon Wilson, the Financial Secretary, told Tribune Business on Sunday that the government’s options were limited in providing the relief sought by petroleum retailers struggling with gross margins of 10 percent or less.

“We agreed to continue to have these discussions,” he disclosed. “I think we gathered more information. We’re discussing it. It’s not an easy, easy, easy. It’s not an easy fix. We’re going to keep on talking. It’s not easy. I think our options are limited.”