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GoB: no further hikes in gas prices; bus fares going up

GeneralGoB: no further hikes in gas prices; bus fares going up

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 7, 2022– In an effort to alleviate the “gas pain” being felt by Belizeans countrywide, Cabinet has approved several measures that are aimed at ensuring that fuel prices are stable. Among these measures is the capping of the price of regular gasoline at $13.50 per gallon. According to a press release issued today following the regular meeting of Cabinet, the Government has established a firm cap on both diesel and regular gasoline pump prices, with the price of diesel to remain at $13.41 per gallon. Without the cap on diesel, which was made possible through a reduction of excise taxes by 57%, the cost of diesel would have risen by $2.13 per gallon, which would have seen the price at the pump shoot past the fifteen-dollar mark to an astounding $15.54.

According to the GoB release, this cap in fuel prices will be maintained through the use of a fuel price stabilization fund—by means of which government will set aside extra funds that are generated when acquisition costs fall and use these funds to offset surges in such costs at a later time. It is something Prime Minister John Briceño had alluded to when speaking to reporters two weeks ago.

The Prime Minister had explained on March 29, following a meeting with key stakeholders, “Fuel is going to be a long discussion, but basically what we have been talking when we met with them is that there were…. many people in the industry want to have certainty, they want to be able to cap fuel at a price and keep it at that price so that if the price goes up, we are looking at setting up a fund from where we can get how to be able to pay the taxes and then when the prices go down, we keep it at that price until we can pay off the funds. So we hope that by next week Tuesday. I mean we had a long discussion in Cabinet and now we have once again asked my ministry, Agriculture, Transportation and Tourism to sit down and to try to come up with a right formula as to how we are going to be addressing that.”

Prime Minister Briceño had mentioned that he had discussed the matter with representatives of the Belize Bus Association, the churches, the NGO community, and other social partners.

Additionally, Cabinet has approved measures to minimize the increase in bus fares—expected to go up on April 15th. According to another press release from the Government, commuters can expect their public transport fares to increase by the following amounts for both regular and
express runs:

• Below 13 miles – $0.25
• 13 to 25 miles – $0.50
• Above 25 miles — $1.00

The approved measures include a fuel subsidy of $0.91 per gallon that will be granted to eligible bus operators over the next six months, which according to the press release will represent over $1 million in savings to commuters. The Government will also be providing subsidies to eligible tour operators.

“Eligible tour operators will be beneficiaries of a capped fuel subsidy jointly funded by the Government of Belize and the Belize Tourism Board in the sum of $1.5 million for a period of up to six months,” noted the release.

Incidentally, it was also announced this week that the price of LPG that is currently in the country was lowered by 13 cents per gallon. In urban areas, the retail price for a 100-pound tank of LPG will be $142.

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