By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff reporter
PRIME Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis says the government is considering reducing fuel taxes for gas retailers with a view to bringing relief to struggling Bahamians.
“We are now considering what to do with retail gas stations, seeking to reduce some of their taxes on VAT to be able to pass that on to consumers. That is something in the works,” Mr Davis said yesterday.
During his office’s press briefing, Mr Davis was asked about his administration’s plans to maintain the country’s economic stability given concerns about the US economy entering a recession by year’s end.
Mr Davis said steps have already been taken to keep the economy afloat as he pointed to the government’s decision to lower duty on certain food imports and introduce other relief measures.
“We’ve been working assiduously,” he said. “So, if you tie the recession to inflationary pressures that has been brought on by all of the other geopolitical issues that’s happening around the world... we have been doing something. For example, what we did is that we lower the costs to import duties, which most of the food stores have passed on to customers. You have seen even the food stores speaking to the fact that they are passing those savings onto the customers.”
The Prime Minister acknowledged the fluctuating gas prices in country, which has been a key concern for Bahamians in recent months.
As of today, fuel prices in Nassau are $6.89 at Rubis, $6.66 at Esso, $6.97 at Shell and $6.92 at AutoServ.
He also noted officials have been in discussions with several shipping companies to reduce the costs of transporting goods to The Bahamas.
Mr Davis added: “We are a consumptive society and consumptive economy, and most of our things are imported so bringing in goods is already expensive...
“So, for example, we were successful in negotiating the reduction of transportation of goods from the Far East by at least 40 per cent. That’s in train now.
“We’re now working on containers coming from Florida and I’m confident that we’ll be able to have some reduction in respect to that. It’s just the logistics that’s going to be worked out in that regard, but we are working assiduously to avoid further burdening of people as a result of these, what I call external shocks, which we have very little control over.”
John Rolle, the Central Bank’s governor, has warned Bahamians should expect to see higher US inflation rates, which are running at a 40-year record.
He also noted that the cost of living crisis facing many Bahamian families has yet “to peak”.