“2021 is not a year to adjust electricity, water and fuel prices.”
So said former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine.
He made the comment on the heels of the Finance Minister’s revelation that he will introduce a finance bill to Parliament in July to liberalise the local fuel market, which will see an end to this country’s decades-old subsidies on transport fuel.
Ramnarine, in an interview with the Newsday, admitted that these subsidies on water, electricity and fuel are not sustainable and will eventually have to be phased out.
However, he said while “Something has to be done…It is obvious that 2021 is not a year to adjust electricity, water and fuel prices.”
He said if the subsidy on fuel is removed at current international oil prices “the diesel price at the pump will rise by 43 per cent.”
Diesel is the fuel most commonly used for commercial transport in TT.
Ramnarine said “It means a natural inflationary ripple effect would set in. The population is already buckling under the pressure of the economic impact of covid19 which was preceded by four years of economic contraction.”
“The economy is headed for the perfect storm and the Government is hoping to bat out the innings because of rising oil prices and rising natural gas prices, but the production of both oil and natural gas is very low.”