By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister John Briceño was at pains today to offer a reasonable explanation for why the Government can do nothing – yet – to reduce fuel prices.
He told reporters that a report will be submitted to Cabinet on the issue as soon as possible in order for it to consider a reduction in fuel taxes.
The P.M. said Government had not raised fuel, or indeed any, taxes in its first year in office. Increases at the pump have been solely as a result of rising acquisition costs, which have gone up by as much as 3 dollars in the first year of his administration.
At an estimated $150 million in revenue, fuel taxes are the single biggest source of revenue at present. While he would not frame it as a choice between reducing fuel taxes and lifting, for instance, general sales tax (GST) or slashing salaries, even ten cents less in fuel taxes is a loss of $3 million in revenue, hence a dollar down is $30 million lost.
And so Government will move carefully on the issue, looking especially at diesel which is the choice of fuel for the productive sector.
But it looks like there will be little relief at the pumps any time soon, as the United States is going through one of its worst winter seasons on record which drives up demand and prices for oil. More on this later.