Here’s why Antigua cannot follow Dominica and lower prices at the pump

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When news broke last week that Dominicans are now enjoying lower prices for gasoline, diesel, kerosene and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), some Antiguans and Barbuans were expecting a similar announcement at home.

But prime minister Gaston Browne has been explaining to the country, why lowering prices at the pump is just not feasible right now.

The prime minister said it’s unlikely at this time and for several reasons:

  • “Dominica has personal income tax, Antigua and Barbuda does not have personal income tax. In fact I believe anyone that earns over EC$1,200 in Dominica he or she has to pay personal income tax.”
  • “I’m told too at the present price at which Dominica is selling, that the wholesalers are now complaining that they are not making any money and they are now trying to negotiate a rate in which they can make some money. I understand that they’re actually making a loss ⁠— that I was told confidentially.”
  • “The other issue that we have to understand is that we’re going through a very difficult period at this time. We need every cent of revenue to ensure that we can meet our obligations.” 
  • “What we also have to understand is that our pricing is programmed in such a way that whenever prices are low government taxes increases and whenever prices are high government taxes reduces. So yes it is true that we will have a windfall in the sense that I think that within recent times we have seen an increase in our yield by $1, but the government needs the money to cover its obligations considering that 70 per cent of government’s revenue would have been decimated by COVID-19.”
  • “I also want to remind motorists as well that a lot of cars that are coming into this country they would have gotten duty free concessions. So to ask us now to give up that little windfall that we are making on the petrol in order to cover much-needed expenses … government needs the money right now and I don’t know that anyone should expect us to pass on that windfall that we need at this time.”
  • “We’re probably one of only two countries who would not have gotten any money from the IMF or the World Bank and we’re literally paddling our own canoe trying to stay afloat, trying to stay alive and sacrifices have to be made by all.”

(This article was written by 268 TODAY journalists)