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Antigua still continues to subsidize rising price of fuel

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August 10 St. John's Antigua: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Energy in Antigua Willmoth Daniel has outlined his government’s record of subsidizing the price of fuel saying that although his government inherited a weak economy, they have been subsidizing the price of fuel amounting to millions of dollars in order to hold down the price of gasoline and diesel at the pumps. 
"For over a year, the government has demonstrated a strong commitment in ensuring that the effects of rising fuel prices are not passed on to consumers. The facts are that government has borne the cost for the consumer at considerable loss to its revenue stream", he said.

He noted that in March and April of this year, the government’s total loss in revenue for gasoline and diesel amounted to one million, seven hundred and fifty four thousand, three hundred and fifty-two dollars and fifty-four cents ($1, 754, 352. 54).

“Again in June, July and August the loss incurred by government totals one million, three hundred and eighteen thousand, nine hundred and ninety-five dollars and ninety-seven cents.  Overall, for the past six months, the UPP Government has incurred over 3.2 million dollars in losses as a result of the rise in oil prices on the world market,” the Energy Minister pointed out.

On Monday August 8 the government increased the price of gasoline by one dollar noting that the continued rise in the price of the commodity on the world market, and the continued strain on the treasury has forced it to discontinue fully absorbing the rise in prices.  It was also pointed out that the government continues to subsidize the price of fuel at the pump by more than one dollar per gallon.

Meanwhile, the Energy Minister also revealed that the West Indies Oil Company, the sole importer of fuel into the country, has accepted the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s position that there no longer exists a basis for them to operate the monopoly they have enjoyed for decades.

He said that this was the result of extensive investigations and negotiations and that there is expected to be specific consumer benefits from any new arrangement for importation and marketing of fuel into the country.

“In this context, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has started bilateral discussions with the Government of Venezuela. This is related to that country’s PetroCaribe proposal to CARICOM states,” he said.

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