Utilities Minister Kye Rymer said he will push for the continuation of an electricity subsidy for residents if oil prices remain high at the end of the year.
The government has announced a subsidy on the fuel surcharge component of BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) bills for residents – 50 per cent for the months of October and November and another 100 per cent for December – following months of complaints about the escalation of bills.
Rymer said in a recent press conference last week that he hoped the Russia-Ukraine war would end soon and that the world would see more oil production and that prices would drop.
When asked if the government was prepared to make a further subsidy after December, Rymer said: “Our plan is to ease the burden on the customer – I can’t speak for the Finance Minister, but I would certainly invite him if the prices remain the same; that we find some sort of funds to continue this facility for our residential customers”.
Premier Dr. Natalio Wheatley agreed with Minister Rymer and said that his government will seek to continue relief measures if fuel prices remain as they are currently. The Premier also noted that the issue is one that his government will continue to monitor closely.
Meanwhile, while admitting that there are difficulties at the moment, Premier Wheatley said that the government will do everything it can to ensure that the territory has a very good tourist season as this brings much needed income.
According to the Premier, the government must also ensure that it protects the financial services industry and ensure that it finds ways to diversify the BVI economy to increase the gross domestic product and also increase government revenue.
“It is a difficult task that we are in now; Of course, we have to finance everything that we have to finance, but we certainly cannot forget the well-being of our people,” said Dr. Wheatley.
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