NIA announces domestic gas increase; says it will continue to subsidise cost to consumers

Despite the Nevis Island Administration?s (NIA) continued subsidization of domestic gas (cooking gas), it was forced to sanction an increase in the commodity with effect from June 01, 2008.

Nevis’ Minister of Trade & Deputy Premier, Hensley Daniel, in a televised address on NTV Channel 8 gave a special announcement;-

?After careful consideration and mindful of the need to protect the consumer, particular those in the low income bracket of these run away oil prices, the Nevis Island Administration has decided on the following increases. As of June 1st 2008 a 100 pound cylinder will move from $140 to $160 and the 20 pound cylinder will move from $30 to $35.

?It is absolutely important to note that the Nevis Island Administration will continue to subsidise each 100 pound cylinder by at least $80 and the 20 pound cylinder by at least $16,? he said.

Mr. Daniel compared prices of domestic gas throughout the OECS and concluded that most of the countries paid more than Nevis.

?A comparison of cooking gas prices in the OECS is useful so that consumers can understand the rational behind the increase. In Anguilla the 100 pound cylinder goes for $220. In Antigua $108, in Dominica $215, in Grenada $216.55, in Montserrat $145 in St, Kitts and Nevis $140, St. Lucia $210, St. Vincent and the Grenadines $ 173.50 there suggest to us that the only other OECS country that sells a 100 pound cylinder of LPG or cooking gas for less than ST. Kitts and Nevis is Antigua where it is retailed at $108.

?The 20 pound Cylinder in Anguilla sells for $59, in Antigua $ 20.95 in Dominica $44.10, in Grenada $43.81, in Montserrat $ 29 in St. Kitts and Nevis $30 in St. St Lucia $33 and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines $37. Again it shows that most of these countries pay more for the 20 pound cylinder than the consumers in St., Kitts and Nevis,? he said.

The Minister called for the support and understanding of the public, given the inability to hold down the price of oil on the world market.

Mr. Daniel explained that the former NIA had granted an increase in domestic gas in February 2005 and that increase resulted in the sale of 100 pound cylinder for $140 and a 20 pound cylinder for $30.

Nonetheless, the Trade Minister explained that the Administration had over time introduced a number of measures to ease the cost of living on Nevis among them the removal of consumption tax on basic food items; payment of 50 percent of the fuel surcharge for electricity consumers; reduction in the price of land for first time owners; stimulation of agricultural production to reduce imports of meat and vegetables; waver payment of import duties for small businesses and the provision of tax concessions for persons wishing to invest in the tourism sector.

He said the Administration had also provided free text books for primary and secondary school students and also lunches for two additional primary schools and that over 107 students were receiving scholarship assistance at tertiary institutions across the United States and the Caribbean.

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