Full removal of fuel subsidy ‘still under consideration’

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Energy Minister Stuart Young at the TT Energy Chamber on Wednesday. In Parliament on Friday, Young said the liberalisation of the fuel market was still under review. – AYANNA KINSALE

Energy Minister Stuart Young has said the liberalisation of fuel prices is still under consideration, given the rising cost of fuel.

Young made the statement while answering a question from Opposition MP David Lee on if Government planned to fully remove the fuel subsidy, in Parliament on Friday.

“It is in this House months ago, as well as the other place, that this Government passed the necessary legislation for the liberalisation of fuel. Since then many members of this side have been speaking to the population about the cost of fuel for TT. What the PM was speaking about this week is that with the rising cost of fuel it continues to be something that is under consideration.”

“Whether it will come tomorrow, two months from now or whenever, the population will be told,” Young said.

In April, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert announced that the prices of premium and super gasoline would be adjusted by one dollar, to $6.75 and $5.97 respectively. The price of diesel would be increased by 50 cents to $3.91, and the price of kerosene would be adjusted from $1.50 to $3.50 per litre. The cost of LPG remained fixed at $21 for a 20-pound cylinder of cooking gas for domestic customers. T

He noted that with the reduced subsidies, Government would still have to pay $840 million in subsidies. He said the adjustment to prices was because Government did not budget for high fuel prices. Imbert noted that without the adjusted prices, Government would have to spend an unbudgeted $1.69 billion in subsidies.

“This money could be far better utilised in the social services sector, the health care sector, our capital development programme, on VAT refunds and on clearing off unpaid bills,” he said.

The adjusted prices went into effect on April 19.

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