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Amidst hike in oil prices government considers all options

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis


Monday 4 April 2011  As of Monday April 4, the  BBC news reported  that oil prices have hit a new two-and-a-half year high, as worries continue about unrest in oil producing nations in North Africa and the Middle East.


The increases  continue to have implications for Saint Lucia at a time when  government  is already absorbing  subsidies  on cooking gas, kerosene and other non-petroleum commodities such as rice, flour and sugar.


The Government Information Service spoke to the Director of Research and Policy in the Ministry of Finance  Mr. Embert St. Juste  on the issue.


“If a cap were to be placed on any other range of petroleum products, given the price mechanism, it means that government would suffer losses of revenue. Any cap on oil prices will automatically result in lower revenue intake, which is something government can ill-afford at this time given the need to respond to the impact of Hurricane Tomas and other pressures being placed on  government with respect to increases in expenditure.”


The Ministry of Finance official says government is concerned and is actually attempting  to see  what  can be done within the country's revenue limitations.


“This is something government is considering at this point in time and I guess a policy decision will be made in the near future on this particular issue.”


International reports indicate that production by Libya, which is the world's 17th  largest oil producer, with a 2% market share, has been almost completely shut down because of the ongoing conflict there.


The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is not due to convene to discuss oil production until  June 2nd,  2011, when its 12 member states will meet in Vienna, Austria.

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