Ramnarine: Not enough to compare fuel prices

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine. –

FORMER energy minister Kevin Ramnarine said it was not good enough for Finance Minister Colm Imbert to compare fuel prices in Trinidad and Tobago to those in other countries, to justify increases in fuel prices that will take effect on April 19.

Imbert announced the fuel price increases in the House of Representatives on April 8.

Current prices per litre for premium gasoline, super gasoline and diesel are $5.75, $4.97 and $3.41 respectively.

On April 19, the price of premium gasoline and super gasoline will be adjusted by $1 per litre to $6.75 and $5.97 respectively, while the price of diesel will be adjusted by $.50 cents to $3.91 per litre.

The price of kerosene will be adjusted from $1.50 to $3.50 per litre

This is the fourth fuel price adjustment implemented since the PNM returned to office in September 2015.

The price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) remains fixed at $21 for a 20lb cylinder of cooking gas for domestic customers. The Energy Ministry will examine what will be an appropriate LPG price for commercial customers.

Referring to Imbert’s statements then and his tweets this week, Ramnarine said, “We cannot simply compare fuel prices from one country to another.

“You have to take into consideration other factors such as minimum wage and purchasing power.”

Ramnarine was hopeful that measures previously announced in the last budget regarding monitoring of fuel prices would be implemented at some stage.

“Ultimately, we need to move to a variable price at the pump with an upper limit cap.”

In his 2022 budget presentation in the House last October, Imbert said the Energy Ministry would post the market-based wholesale prices of premium gasoline, super gasoline and diesel on the first day of each month.

He also said Government would set a “retail margin ceiling for each petroleum product to minimise price fluctuations and protect the end consumers of premium gasoline, super gasoline and diesel.”

Former minister in the ministry of finance Vasant Bharath described the fuel price increases as heartless.

“These are perilous economic times for most families in TT having endured seven years of an economy in a negative-growth tailspin, compounded by the battering of covid.”

Bharath wondered if the Government did not understand that “any increase in taxes, as this is, will result in increased prices of food, medicines, clothes, taxi fares and all goods that need to be transported