Owing to the instability of the price of fossil fuel, government will be embarking on a plan to make it even easier to import energy efficient merchandise, this according to Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade Hon. E. Jay Saunders.
Minister Saunders was speaking on Tuesday, March 15, at a joint news conference with Premier Hon. Washington Misick, at the Premier’s Office in Providenciales.
The news conference was to announce reductions in Customs Processing Fees (CPFs) and oil import tariffs.
“As you have seen, every time you have an issue particularly around conflict it affects fuel production, and when it affects fuel production, fuel cost goes up,” the deputy premier lamented. “And so, in the medium to long term, we need the country to become energy efficient, so we won’t have these shocks in your cost of living whenever you have issues like what is going right now between Russia and Ukraine.”
He said while government would encourage the general public to be more energy efficient, would be moving to drastically reducing energy resourceful items.
“And so, we are encouraging people to become more energy efficient, and with that, we are going to be looking at all of the items on the customs duty and we are going to be aggressively reducing the cost of imports on energy efficient items.
“I think some of them are already duty-free, and we are encouraging people to do it (be more energy efficient) in purchasing, particular things like electric cars and hybrid cars,” he stated.
In the meantime, the finance minister pointed out that over the last two years, between 2020 and 2022, oil prices per barrel went from $55.66 to $97.13, up to February.
“So that was a 75 percent increase over the last two years. (Now) the price for that same barrel of oil topped $120 during the month of March, and today it is down to about $100…it is fluctuating up and down…we can’t predict where the rate is going to go,” he said.
In addition, he said the price of food, due to inflation, will see a steady rise. He said meat is expected to increase by between 3 and 4 percent; poultry should see a jump of between 3 and 4 percent; the price of fish and sea food is predicted to vault between 3.5 and 4.5 percent; dairy products should jump between 2 percent and 3.5 percent; fats and oils could be increase by an average of 3 and 4 percent; fruits and vegetables should increase between 1.5 and 2.5 percent; sugar and sweets by 2 to 3 percent; cereals and bakery products to increase by 2 to 3 percent; and non-alcohol beverage between 2.5 and 2.5 percent. Eggs, however, are expected to decrease by half of a percent, according to the deputy premier.
As a result, Saunders pointed out that government, instead of collecting its prescribed 85 cents per gallon as Customs Processing Fees (CPF), would take a cut and will now collect 64 cents.
“Consumers should see a reduction at the pump right away, and the reason I said they should see the reduction its because that would not be left to the supplier to pass to the consumer, but the Department of Consumer Affairs and Fair Competition will be monitoring that,” Minister Saunders outlined.
“So, that is a warning to the suppliers that they will be having people coming across to check their prices to make sure that the savings are being passed on to consumers,” he added.
He said that government had concluded that the chopping of levy on gasoline imports would not necessarily see a reduction in electricity bill, and so it was pertinent that the administration also reduces the CPF, which light and power company Fortis pays.
He said the CPF is 7.5 percent, which Fortis passes on to the consumer. As a result, government shaved off 2.5 percent off the CPF, which now stands at 5 percent.
“So, you should automatically see a reduction in your electricity charge,” Saunders said, noting that the CPF was on all imports.
“…Every single thing…not just in the supermarkets but right across the board, and so, you should see a saving, and your cost of living should come down immediately,” he said.