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Smooth transition expected in implementation of new fuel pricing system

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis


Tuesday, September 22, 2009 –A smooth transition is expected when government on September 28   puts into motion the new Fuel Market Pass-Through Mechanism.  Members of a specially mandated Petroleum Committee are reportedly satisfied that all is in place for a smooth implementation of the new policy on how the price of fuel will be determined.


The new system will see a review of the price of gasoline and fuel every four weeks. Director of Research and Policy in the Ministry of Finance Embert St. Juste said the new fuel pricing mechanism, announced by Prime Minister Honourable Stephenson King during his  2009/10 Budget Presentation, was also a recommendation made to all OECS member states by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank – ECCB, since 2006.


 “The Petroleum Market Pass Through mechanism is simply a system to determine prices for petroleum products in a manner that would better reflect market conditions. Since Saint Lucia depends entirely on imported fuel, the new system will more closely track movements in the international prices,” Mr. St. Juste said.


Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce Titus Preville, informed consumers that should the international prices of fuel reflect no upward or downward movements, then correspondingly no adjustment will be reflected at the pumps.


“We do not at this point perceive any major difficulty with the implementation. We've worked with our petroleum dealers. They were part of the consultation, they advised us on the timing, and so did our suppliers. So everyone is in the know as to how this system is supposed to work,” Mr. Preville said.


Reviews will be undertaken by the Petroleum Committee, while new rates will be gazetted and will also be disclosed at pump stations. Members of the committee have now entered a comprehensive phase of public sensitization, straddling the electronic and print media in order to fully apprise the public on the new developments.


“It must be noted, however, that the Market Pass-through Mechanism will not only apply in the strict sense to fuel; namely unleaded gasoline and diesel. However, the LPG will also be subjected to a slight change, in terms of a cap placed on the level of subsidy per 20lb cylinder of Ten Dollars. Other categories of LPG will not be subsidized,” member of the Petroleum Committee Dr. Thomas Samuel said.


The new system will also result in the replacement of the existing consumption tax on gasoline and diesel with a flat excise tax rate of three dollars per gallon.

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