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Increase in the Cost of Premium Gas

September 25, 2008

Twin Towers 
EDITOR: The dismantling of the fuel subsidy has begun, as was predicted by the Food and Fuel Forum, which for the past couple of weeks has been distributing a bulletin linking the dismantling to the upcoming signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The 25% increase in the price of premium gasoline has been presented by the Minister of Finance as an imposition on those who can bear it, insinuating that it is the privileged in society who use premium gasoline and that it will have no effect on transportation costs. This is gross deception, because automobile technology demands the use of premium and it is disingenuous (a big word for deceitful) to say that once diesel has not (yet) been raised transport costs will not increase.

What may result is that taxis as an integral part of the transport system may become a thing of the past and the extra-legal PH cars, another integral part of the transport system in many areas, will raise their fares to compensate for the increase in premium gas and the anarchy on the roads will escalate. The provision of more PTSC buses, while laudable does not make for a comprehensive transportation system.

After all is said and done, the gas subsidy is being dismantled. Is diesel next? If so, then the cost of living will continue to shoot up all around. With no focus on fighting inflation and the continuation of its non-policy on agriculture and food security, the government is setting the stage for a nightmare scenario where the struggle for economic survival will consume working people and the poor. In such a situation working people and the poor will move to protect themselves. These circumstances will intensify the conditions leading to general strikes, mass rebellion and insurrection.

Gerry Kangalee

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