Rymer to push for BVIEC subsidy extension if oil prices remain high
Utilities Minister Kye Rymer said he will push for the continuation of an electricity bill subsidy for residents if oil prices remain high at the end of the year.
The government announced a subsidy on the fuel surcharge component of the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) bills for residents – 50 per cent for the months of October and November and another 100 per cent for December – after months of complaints about escalating bills.
Rymer said at a recent press conference last week that he was hopeful the Russia-Ukraine war would end soon and that the world would see more production of oil and those prices will come down.
When asked whether the government is prepared to do a further subsidy beyond December, Rymer said, “Our plan is to ease the burden of the customer – I can’t speak for the Minister of Finance, but I will surely be prompting him if the prices remain the same; that we find some sort of funds to continue this ease for our residential customers.”
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley agreed with Minister Rymer and said his government will certainly look at continued relief measures if fuel prices remain as they are currently. The Premier also noted that the issue is one which his government will have to continue to monitor closely.
In the meantime, while conceding that there are difficulties at present, Premier Wheatley said the government has to do all it can to ensure the territory has a very good tourist season since this brings in much-needed revenue.
According to the Premier, the government also has to make sure it protects the financial services industry and to ensure it finds ways to diversify the BVI’s economy to increase the gross domestic product and also increase government revenues.
“It’s a difficult task that we’re in right now; of course having to finance everything that we have to finance, but certainly we can’t forget about the welfare of our people,” Dr Wheatley said.