NASSAU, BAHAMAS- – Discussions between the government and petroleum retailers have come to a temporary halt according to Financial Secretary Simon Wilson.
When asked about the state of those negotiations yesterday Wilson said, “I think those discussions are in abeyance. We have a proposal before them. They have a counterproposal before the government and I am assuming that perhaps later in the summer we will get together and try and finalize it.”
Petroleum retailers have been advocating for a margin increase on their fuel sales for more than a year, citing increasing costs that have made it difficult for them to operate under the current margin regime.
Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis has stated repeatedly that the government had already provided gas station operators with $6 million in collective relief, which included $5.5 million in cash and $0.5 million in tax rebates.
However, Halkitis has also expressed concerns that reducing taxes and revenues from fuel sales would create a shortfall that would need to be compensated for in other areas of the government’s budget.
Currently, the government receives $1.16 in duty for every gallon of fuel sold, in addition to 10 percent VAT.
The last time petroleum dealers experienced a margin increase was in 2011 under the Hubert Ingraham-led Free National Movement (FNM) administration. At that time, a $0.10 cent increase per gallon of gasoline was granted, taking the margin from $0.44 cents to $0.54 cents. Additionally, a $0.15 cent increase per gallon of diesel was allowed.