ENERGY Minister Stuart Young confirmed on Thursday there has been no increase in the price of liquid petroleum gas (LPG).
This is in keeping with Finance Minister Colm Imbert's pronouncement in his 2022 budget presentation on Monday.
Young made this clarification in a statement in response to a report of an alleged increase in LPG price.
He said LPG remains heavily subsidised by taxpayers as part of government policy and this continues to be the policy. Young added that he has not authorised any increase in the price of LPG.
"I have communicated with the chairman of National Petroleum (NP) and confirmed with him that there is no authorisation to adjust the price of LPG."
Young said NP chairman Sahid Hosein has confirmed in turn that "NP has taken the necessary internal action to communicate the Government's position."
He also said Hosein said, "The communication which appears to have been sent by an employee of NP to a particular gas station dealer was not authorised."
Young said, "Steps have been taken to address this matter. There is an issue related to transportation and handling cost to get LPG cylinders to various dealers and this appears to be a matter requiring discussion."
Young also said he has requested a report on the LPG market and pricing from the ministry's permanent secretary to see what further measures may be necessary to maintain the Government's policy position.
In the House of Representatives on Monday, Imbert mentioned LPG when he reminded MPs of steps Government is taking to liberalise the domestic fuel market. While this has not yet happened, Imbert said it would involve the "removal of fixed retail margins for premium gasoline, super gasoline and diesel with petroleum retailers and dealers being allowed to fix their margins for these petroleum products."
Imbert said other elements of the liberalisation included keeping wholesale margins fixed by the Government for all liquid petroleum products and applying an appropriate but reasonable tax to compensate for the fuel surplus, which is generated on the sale of gasoline, when oil prices are depressed.
He said the Energy Ministry will post the market-based wholesale prices of premium gasoline, super gasoline and diesel on the first day of each month. But he added this would not involve kerosene or LPG. He said both "will remain under the subsidy mechanism."
In a statement issued earlier in the day, Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee queried the alleged report of an LPG price rise. Lee claimed that unconfirmed sources were labelling this as service charges and called for Young to investigate.
Lee said failure to remove, reprimand or act any action against NP's board of directors and CEO John Gormandy "would suggest that this was not a mere mistake but a calculated one supported by the Government."