Kamla: Six per cent to feel gas pinch

PORT OF SPAIN – Only six per cent of the motoring population which includes those who drive luxury vehicles such as Audis and BMWs will be affected by the hike in premium gasoline, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar speaking to the media yesterday following Finance Minister Larry Howai’s presentation of the 2012/2013 national budget in Parliament at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre in Port of Spain.

Persad-Bissessar was speaking to the media yesterday following Finance Minister Larry Howai’s presentation of the 2012/2013 national budget in Parliament at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre in Port of Spain.

Howai announced that premium gasoline would be increased from $4 to $5.75 per litre from today. This move is aimed at reducing the fuel subsidy and encouraging motorists to switch to Compressed Natural Gas.

Persad-Bissessar said she was “advised that only about six per cent of the motoring public will be affected by the lifting of the subsidy on premium gas. But let us be very clear, that is on the high-end vehicles, that will be your Audis and your BMWs. So it is a very small percentage of people who will be affected and they will be the ones who will very well be able to afford to pay the extra increased price. So it will not impact upon the ordinary citizen, the middle-class citizen. It will go at the high-end motor user and we feel it is justified because we must get the revenue to carry out all these projects and that is one area in which the revenue can come in to us”.

Up for review

She said other ranges of the $4 billion fuel subsidy will be reviewed by the Finance Minister and assured that before any further decision was taken, measures would be put in place to ensure the country was CNG compliant.

“It will be foolhardy of us, we will be fuelling inflation, if we were to move swiftly to remove the subsidy on gasoline and diesel and therefore should we have to make such a decision, that decision will only come after we are sure that we are CNG compliant and the majority of people would be able to access the CNG and therefore there will be no hardship and no inflationary pressures that would accrue as a result of moving the fuel subsidy on the other ranges of gasoline,” said Persad-Bissessar.

She said that unlike the former Patrick Manning-run administration, her Government was moving forward to ensuring CNG compliance, adding that $1.5 billion was allocated in the budget toward this goal. (Express)

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