$16 m. diesel subsidy approved
Government is pumping a further $15.7 million into the provision of diesel for public service vehicle operators and other sectors.
But if discussions now underway are successful, privately-operated PSVs now benefiting from reduced fuel costs via the Transport Board will be operating their own fuel station(s).
Minister of Transport and Works John Boyce shared this news with the House of Assembly this morning in the Opposition’s absence as Government members debated and approved the latest diesel rebate for the transport sector, manufacturers, farmers, and fisher folk.
As he called for the operators of route taxis and minibuses, who use the Transport Board’s facilities to refuel, to improve their behaviour while there, the Leader of the House said the Association of Private Transport Operators and authorities, including his ministry, Town and Country Planning and the Environmental Protection Department were discussing an independent APTO facility.
While the private operators favoured the use of refueling trucks, Boyce said the preferred option of the Government agencies was a specific location, possibly an old gas station.
“I know that the Association of Private Transport Operators has been looking at the whole prospect of distributing this fuel themselves and are working with the major agencies in Barbados, Town Planning, the Ministry of Transport and Works, the Environmental Protection Department … with a view to being able to distribute their own fuel at the best possible prices to their operators,” he said.
“They would then become a distributor and would be able, once they get the regimes approved, … to benefit from any profit which would be derived therefrom.
“And I am sure that this association could do with a facility like that and certainly I know they have tried to construct independent distribution vehicles, but I know that the authorities, for instance, tend towards the selection of a site like one of our disused petrol stations or something where the operation would … go into action more seamlessly,” he stated.
Boyce said discussion on this was “ongoing” and Government was supportive of such a move, but added that “it’s something which still has to fall in line with the regulations of the country”.
“After all we don’t want to have the prospect of vehicles driving around the island distributing fuel at many, many locations to their clients,” the Christ Church MP noted.
“We already have a situation where in construction, some level of this is done, but this tends to be controlled in a construction site so that the vehicle distributing the fuel more or less would go to the central location where the construction is occurring and would distribute the diesel accordingly.
“The threats of course of fire are there, the threats of an accident if you are distributing in an actual terminal where our passengers are the threats are obvious and I don’t believe that we would want to necessarily entertain this kind of approach.”
Boyce told the Lower House that the bulk of the $15.7 million diesel subsidy approved today would be for the manufacturing sector ($13.2 million), while the transport sector would benefit from $825,000, fisher folk $330,000, and the remainder to farmers. (SC)