UNC presses government on result of global oil price hike

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

UNC Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee

WITH the continuing surge in oil and gas prices globally, will the citizens of this country reap any benefits, and if so, how soon can they expect to do so?

Opposition MP David Lee posed the question to the government on Sunday and asked for the answer be put forth promptly and publicly.

He also asked whether or not consumers will see a change in prices at gas stations across the country.

“I’m asking the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Energy, with the high price of oil, when would that affect us, the consumers at the gas pump? Are we going to be seeing very shortly a rise at the gas pump, whether it is diesel, super or premium at our gas stations?” Lee asked.

The price of Brent crude oil saw a rare surge to over US$100 per barrel within the past week.

Price fluctuations are fuelled by several factors, but the most recent and direct factor is presumed to be the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Minister in the Ministry of Finance Brian Manning told Newsday on Thursday that the Government is “monitoring the situation very closely.”

He said, “There has already been an increase in oil and gas prices globally and that should benefit our economy. The supplemental petroleum tax has also kicked in and that should also generate additional income.”

The rising prices do come with consequences to the economy, Manning added.

“Unfortunately, increased energy prices globally can lead to an increase in the cost of imported goods due to the higher cost of production and transport.”

Lee called for a more direct and elaborate response from the government.

“(Because) it is being subsidised and the price is being held by this government…I’m asking, given the hardship that this country is going through, I really hope that the government of the day does not come and inflict further pain on the consumers and the motoring public, increasing the price at the pump based on the international prices that are very high on the world market today.”

He posed the question while underscoring that Trinidad and Tobago is “technically not supposed to have a subsidy, based on how this government has removed subsidies from the gas pump.”