The recent adjustments made to the wholesale and retail cost of fuel to Vincentian consumers is not to be confused as a government revenue earning measure. So says Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, who addressed this concern in an exclusive Asbert News Network interview.
Minister Gonsalves said, “this government does not raise fuel prices as a revenue measure. As has been explained many times, the price of fuel is set by referring to a rolling 3-month average of fuel costs based on global and regional fuel prices.
“When the three month average of imported [fuel] increases, there is a corresponding increase in SVG. Similarly, when there is a decrease, the local prices are adjusted downwards. We neither inflate not subsidise fuel prices as revenue measures. It is a fairly automatic process that works well.
“As such, fuel prices reflect global trends, not revenue measures. If memory serves, the last two adjustments were increases and the two before that were downward adjustments, but I’ll have to verify that.”
The Price Control (Amendment) (No.3) Order 2021 commenced on Wednesday May, 25 and would see price increases for all petrol products in areas I – IV.
The maximum price per gallon of diesel increased at the pumps up to $10.05 while “the maximum wholesale price at bulk installation,” according to the government’s gazette, moved upwards to $9. 39 per gallon.
Low sulphur diesel “at bulk installation” is now priced at $9.79 but at the pumps it is currently available for $10.45 per gallon.
Gasoline consumers would see a $0.68 increase on the price paid at the pumps versus what they paid this time last year. According to the release the retail gas price is now $12.15 while the wholesale price was valued at $0.76 less.
Cooking gas prices increased, on average, by 9% nationwide. Consumers in the Grenadines, area IV according to the government’s release, would now pay as much as $201.95 per 100 pound cylinder of liquefied petroleum gas – an increase of $16.25 on the February 2021 adjustments.
The 25lbs and 20lbs cylinders went up by $4.05 and $3.05 respectively for Grenadines based users and are now to be retailed at $50.25 and $42.00.
95lbs and 22lbs cylinders are now being offered at $196.00 and $49.00 in turn, at retail prices, to Grenadines based consumers.
Areas I – III will pay the same $180.95, at retail, for a 100lb cylinder of cooking gas while consumers in these same locales would pay $3.25 and $4.05 more for the 20lb and 25lb gas cylinders than the amounts paid in February this year.
So that a 20lbs cylinder in Areas I – III is now valued at $37.20, $38.20 and $47.25 in that order. The 25lbs gas cylinder in those same areas is now being retailed at $45.25, $46.25 and $47.25 respectively.
The sole “maximum wholesale price” listed for cooking gas was attributed to the 22lb cylinder and was valued at $39.00. Retail users in all areas except the Grenadines would pay $44.00, $45.00 and $46.00, correspondingly, for that size.
Meanwhile, persons on mainland St. Vincent who wish to buy a 95lbs gas cylinder, at retail, could do so for $175.00.
Area I is said to be measured as any location within a 2 miles radius of the Courthouse in Kingstown, communities adjoining Area I extending from Area I North – East to Langley Park and North – West to Keartons including all areas lying between Langley Park and Keartons is ascribed as Area II while all areas on the mainland, other than those falling within Area I & II is designated as Area III.
Under the Price and Distribution of Goods Act (Cap 161), no person shall in respect of any goods for which the maximum price has been fixed, sell or buy, or agree to sell or buy, any such goods at a price greater than the maximum prices.
Any person who contravenes this provision is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not less than fifteen hundred dollars but not more than three thousand dollars.