Skyrocketing fuel prices…matter not yet discussed by Cabinet – Business MinisterIn light of spikes in gas prices mobbing from $215 per litre last week to prices ranging from $230 to $250 per litre this week, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) is urging Government to act swiftly on the matter. On Wednesday, the trade union said this sudden hike in fuel prices will burdened consumers. In a strongly worded statement to the media, the union said Government must stop “turning a blind eye to what is taking place” and proactively act in the interest of people.A Guyoil service stationThe union noted that the reduction of the taxes on fuel will bring some reprieve to the “overburdened” class of working people. Having highlighted newly implemented taxes, increase in extant taxes and higher food costs, FITUG contends that no person would be spared as the increased costs of fuel will be passed on to the consumer in one way or another.“We saw as recent as May 28, 2018, the State-owned Guyana Oil Company Limited (Guyoil) retailing gasoline for $230 per litre. Interestingly, the May 20, 2018, Guyana Times had reported that Guyoil, at the time it compiled its report, was retailing gas for $220 per litre. Thus, in the space of days, the price jumped by $10 per liter, that is a significant hike given the shortness of the period. Moreover, we are aware that, similarly, increases have been recorded in the prices of kerosene and cooking gas,” an excerpt from the statement added.The union noted that it is aware that the increased fuel prices have their origins in the rising price of oil globally but stressed that in any event, policies could be embraced to cushion the local impact, as was done in the past.Business Minister Dominic GaskinIt observed that when there was a reduction of the excise tax, it helped to soften, and in some cases, nullify, the increased prices due to increases at the global level. The Federation expressed “strong dismay” that Government has made “no attempt” to embrace similar policies.Meanwhile, the Private Sector Commission on Wednesday called for measures to be put in place to ensure the effects are not filtered to businesses and consumers.Business Minister Dominic Gaskin was quoted as saying that the matter has not been discussed by Cabinet.Only on Tuesday, Opposition Member of Parliament, Irfaan Ali urged the Government to give some serious consideration to reducing the high prices of fuel on the market.Ali recalled when his party, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) was in Government, they had constantly adjusted the tax regime to cushion the effect of fluctuation in fuel prices on the international market.He said this was aimed at ensuring that all Guyanese were protected from increases in their expenditure. “However, it seems that the current A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) regime is deaf to the cries of the population and are bent of driving Guyana’s economy into the ground.”The former Minister argued that it is well established that any increases in the price for fuel, gasoline or diesel, would translate in increases in costs of production for manufacturers, increase in expenditure for transportation operators and drivers. Ultimately, this will impact the local economic situation.He pointed out too that these increases are passed on to the consumers who are already burdened with increases in more than 200 licence fees and taxes that the coalition Government introduced.Ali therefore called on the APNU/AFC Government to take immediate steps to reduce the cost of gasoline, diesel and kerosene so that Guyanese would not have to bear the brunt of the price increases.