Consumer rights advocate Reverend Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt is on board with Government’s new fuel tax announced by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Mottley in Parliament yesterday to replace the road tax effective July 1.
The new tax, which is expected to rake in $80 million compared to $65 million in road taxes, will be levied at a rate of 40 cents per litre of petrol, 40 cents per litre of diesel and five cents per litre of kerosene.
“For me how ever many litres [of fuel] I put in my vehicle, it is far better to pay 40 cents for every litre than to have to look for $450, or in some peoples cases $1,600 one time [in road taxes],” he said.
While suggesting it should help individuals with their cash flow, he warned consumers that they could not expect to “have a cheaper per litre rate and at the same time pay no taxes”.
“Something has to give so I have no difficulty with the new measure,” the consumer rights activist said.
Meantime, with respect to the Barbados Light & Power Company’s (BL&P) announcement over the weekend of a seven cent hike in electricity rates, Gibbs-Taitt said there was no need for consumers to be overly concerned.
He explained that the BL&P could do “very little” about the increase as it was based on world fuel prices.
“The increase on the world market helps to perpetuate the Fuel Clause Adjustment (FCA) as the price of fuel goes up, so we also pay more for our electricity. It is nothing to be too concerned about . . . [and] Light and Power could do very little about it,” he said following a release issued by BL&P at the weekend in which its Communications Manager Jackie Marshall-Clarke announced that as a result of an increase in the FCA from 28.6051 cents per kilowatt-hour last month to 35.7825 cents, customers would see an increase in June’s electricity bills.
“An average electricity customer using approximately 250kWh in May would have paid $142.89 compared to $163.98 for the same usage this month,” she said.
To mitigate fuel price volatility, the BL&P said it was considering revisiting its fuel hedging application, which was unsuccessful last year.
The company also said it remained committed to working with energy stakeholders to transition Barbados from its dependence on foreign oil to clean energy.