The Government is on course to meeting – and beating – its target haul of $65 million from the fuel tax which has replaced the road tax, said Finance Minister Ryan Straughn.
“Since the imposition of the fuel tax on July 1 up until November 10, we have so far collected $26.1 million, in amounts ranging between $4 million and $6 million per month,” Straughn told the House of Assembly during the second reading of the Fuel Tax Bill.
The minister indicated that, based on its three months’ intake, the Government’s revenue projections from the tax were on track for fiscal year 2018-2019, which began in April.
“We had projected revenue of $65 million for motor vehicles and Public Service Vehicles for 2019, but based on what we have collected so far, we should end up with $68 million a year from this measure.”
Straughn defended the tax, which he said addressed motorists’ complaints of “lining up to pay road tax, and with the economic hardships under the last administration.
“People started making decisions on what they would and would not pay. This bill seeks to put the change we announced in the budget in June on legal footing. This method ensures compliance and makes it easier for Government to collect the tax.”
Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid said the tax was fair since “people pay for what they use, so people who do not drive very often will not have to pay the same amount as those who are on the road every day driving all over the island.”
He also declared that the Government had worked quickly behind the scenes to switch fuel providers with the closure of Trinidadian state-owned oil refinery Petrotrin, the twin-island state’s main fuel supplier.
“When Petrotrin closed down earlier this year, that set off alarm bells, because they used to refine the oil we produced and send it back to us. However, we worked diligently to ensure we got ourselves another supplier, and nobody saw any scarcity of diesel or gas at any time,” Duguid said.