No agreement on fuel ease for PSVs, says Sol
Five weeks after an announcement that a deal had been struck to ease operators of public service vehicles (PSVs) affected by the removal of the Government subsidy on gasoline and diesel, news has emerged that no such agreement exists.
In fact, Barbados TODAY has confirmed that negotiations are still under way with Sol Barbados Limited.
“We have progressed talks with the PSV representatives and are currently in negotiations on this matter, the details of which are subject to confidentiality at this time,” said Ezra Prescod, the general manager of Sol in a brief statement when contacted by Barbados TODAY.
“The PSV operators are an important customer segment for Sol and we trust that once discussions have been concluded, the outcome will be beneficial to the PSV community.”
Early last month, director of Trade Advisory Services, Judy Forde, claimed that PSV operators would benefit from a nine cent per litre reduction in the price of diesel purchased from Sol from the start of June.
“It would mean significant savings for the industry. When we enjoyed the Government subsidy it was eight cents plus 20 cents excise tax that brought it to 28 cents. Nobody has any control over the excise tax because it is imposed by Government,” she said in an interview.
“Two years ago the PSVs were using 200 000 litres of diesel per week and I believe it is more now. A route taxi uses about 50 to 60 litres per week, while the bigger minibus uses much more. The minibuses probably use about $400 in diesel per day and diesel is $2.87 per litre. All PSVs will benefit from the concession.”
When contacted this afternoon, Forde said she was in a meeting and we would have to call back in ten minutes. However, numerous calls to her phone after that went unanswered.
However, Barbados TODAY was able to get a comment from interim president of the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO), Morris Lee, who also confirmed that negotiations are still being held.
“We had discussions with Sol and with some of the other players in the industry and it would be immature of me to make any comment at this time given the delicate nature of the discussions,” he said.
An estimated 525 PSVs and more than 4,000 people are affected by Government’s decision to remove the subsidy effective April 1.