Prime Minister Gaston Browne Defends Fuel Price Increases

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

**Prime Minister Gaston Browne Defends Fuel Price Increases in Parliament**

Prime Minister Gaston Browne justified the government’s decision to increase gasoline prices, citing improved economic conditions and reduced vulnerability among the population.

Browne emphasized that Antigua and Barbuda’s economic progress and decreased unemployment rates warranted the adjustment in fuel pricing policies.

“Antigua and Barbuda has the lowest fuel prices in the Caribbean, perhaps barring Jamaica and Guyana,” Prime Minister Browne stated.

He further noted that fuel prices in the region were on average $1 higher than in Antigua and Barbuda, highlighting the discrepancy that necessitated a reevaluation of the country’s fuel pricing mechanisms.

“Our people are doing significantly better,” stated Prime Minister Browne, highlighting success stories shared by individuals, including taxi operators who reported substantial earnings and financial stability. These positive economic indicators, coupled with lower unemployment rates, led the government to reconsider its approach to fuel subsidies and pricing.

Browne explained that historically, the government had subsidized fuel price increases, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, to alleviate financial pressures on citizens. However, with the economy performing well and unemployment rates decreasing, the government believes that consumers can now afford the nominal increase in fuel prices.

“The government’s decisions are aimed at striking a balance between supporting the economy, meeting fiscal responsibilities, and ensuring that citizens benefit from relatively affordable fuel prices compared to neighboring countries,” Browne emphasized. He reassured the public that the government would continue to monitor fuel price fluctuations closely and implement measures to cap increases to avoid excessive burdens on consumers.

Watch the Q&A from Parliament here:

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