PM promises fuel price reduction

By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter

Prime Minister Dean Barrow assured drivers this week that it would only be a matter of days before the high cost of fuel goes down.

Barrow, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, explained that the fuel importer PUMA is expecting a shipment coming in from Curacao in the next few days. That shipment is expected to bring down the price of Premium fuel, which currently is just below $12 a gallon.

“By our calculations when that shipment is landed you will see a further decrease in prices to below where the prices were when we had that spike,” Barrow explained.

He did not specify which of several spikes he was referring to – information that would have given some clarity, given that prices have changed 12 times in 2017. He also did not provide an estimate of the projected price, as a result of the new shipment.

Earlier this month, drivers got some relief from the high gas prices, when the price per gallon for regular fuel went down from $11.13 to $10.29. The event marked one of the few times that fuel prices have gone down for 2017.
Barrow noted that the continued adversity between the United States and Venezuela continues to play a role in the issues Belize is facing with fuel imports. The US imposed economic sanctions against Venezuela in August, barring US-based companies from doing business with Venezuela’s government of its state-owned oil company Petroleros de Venezuela (PDVSA).

The result of the sanctions is that Venezuela has had difficulty conducting transactions in US currency, which is the usual medium by which Belize pays for its fuel.

“But the Venezuelans have been extremely good in allowing us to pay for the fuel in Belize dollars,” Barrow added.

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