Monday, July 15, 2024

GOB to provide fuel subsidies for tour operators and public transportation on the mainland


To avoid an increase in the cost of services, such as tourism, the Government of Belize (GOB) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) will provide a capped fuel subsidy for eligible tour operators up to $1.5 million. The decision was made on April 5th during the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Many tour operators welcomed the announcement on Ambergris Caye. One tour operator downtown shared with The San Pedro Sun that they have been absorbing the ongoing increase in fuel prices without increasing the rates of their tours. Besides the good news of fuel subsidies for tour operators, these stakeholders on the island are also urging the BTB authorities to apply and enforce a price control mechanism as some companies offer packages at lower rates. This practice undermines the genuine services of established tour companies and is hurting their income. They hope there is some intervention by the relevant authorities by standardizing the rates for tour packages.

Bus companies on the mainland getting subsidies as well

The public transportation sector on the mainland is also getting a subsidy. While bus fares are expected to increase on April 15th, eligible bus operators will receive a fuel subsidy of .91 cents per gallon for six months. This relief will cost the government $1.1 million. The new bus fares are expected to increase by the following:

Below 13 miles – $0.25

13 to 25 miles – $0.50

Above 25 miles – $1.00

The increase in public transportation will apply to both regular and express runs.

The other update regarding the ongoing increase in fuel prices triggering inflation is the government’s ability to cap diesel and regular gasoline prices. According to GOB, there has been a reduction of excise taxes on diesel by 57%, stabilizing it at $13.41 per gallon on the mainland and $13.82 on Ambergris Caye. The pause in the increase of fuel prices reportedly represents a loss of more than $30 million annually in taxes for the government. However, if this measure were not applied, the fuel prices would have surpassed the $15 mark per gallon. The other fuel in demand is regular gasoline, and it will remain at $13.50 per gallon on the mainland and $13.91 in Ambergris Caye. No adjustments were announced for either premium gasoline or kerosene.

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