Private public transport operators are yet again appealing to the Mia Amor Mottley-led administration to give them some relief from the high gas prices which are having a negative impact on their operations.
Communications, Information and Marketing Officer of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport Mark A. Haynes told Barbados TODAY that the organisation is deeply concerned about the most recent hike in petroleum products which creates a headache for Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operators whose financial gains continue to be eroded as a consequence.
Haynes contended that the situation is crippling and places operators under enormous stress in an effort to survive, as they grapple with other miscellaneous costs. He said the situation is not only unsustainable and untenable in the current economic climate, but it cannot continue unabated.
“I therefore call on the Government of Barbados to move with alacrity to save and cushion the PSV sector from the onslaught of rising gas costs at the pump as it has the propensity to drive many out of business.
“There can be an adjustment in the Value Added Tax (VAT) or the excess tax regime, thus providing an ease to ameliorate overall costs to the PSV fraternity which continues largely to contribute to Barbados’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) providing an essential service to thousands of commuters on a daily basis.
“These are domestic taxation policies which the Government has at its disposal,” Haynes said, adding that the PSV operators are asking to be once again able to fill their tanks at the Transport Board’s Roebuck Street location VAT-free.
From midnight Sunday August 7, consumers began to pay more for petroleum products, except for kerosene, which is now sold at $2.36, a reduction of 30 cents. The price for gasoline increased by 11 cents to $4.83 per litre, while diesel went up by 20 cents to $4.28.
In this year’s Budget and Financial Proposals, the Government announced a cap on the Value Added Tax (VAT) on gasoline and diesel, in an effort to shield consumers from the full increase of refined petroleum products.
Haynes believes that Government needs to intervene and use different measures to assist PSV operators who are still feeling the pinch even though the VAT on gasoline and diesel is being capped.
He added that it should also be considered that PSV operators continue to record low ridership, even though the COVID-19 protocols have been relaxed.
“The point is though, the petrol cost is too astronomical, and we are asking for an ease in that regard. PSV operators are in dire need of some relief at this time. Even though the COVID protocols have been relaxed we are not seeing the numbers to help cover the gas and other expenses, but the petrol prices continue to increase,” he said.