Trade unionists denounce meagre drop in gas prices

By Marvens Pierre, Metropole Haiti, July 18, 2023

The Haitian government has announced a nationwide reduction in the price of petroleum products from Thursday, July 20, 2023. This announcement comes about 12 months after the formal end of fuel subsidies and the adjustment of prices of the main petroleum products at the pump.

The new gas prices will be as follows: a gallon of gasoline will cost 560 gourdes instead of 570 gourdes, a reduction of 10 gourdes. Diesel and kerosene will be reduced by 50 gourdes, from 670 gourdes to 620 gourdes and from 665 gourdes to 615 gourdes per gallon respectively.

This decision follows a considerable drop in the price of a barrel of oil on the international market, currently sold at less than 80 dollars a barrel.

Trade unionists, however, particularly in the public transport sector, are not satisfied with this measure. They describe the reduction as a "sham" saying the price reduction is insignificant. Indeed, they point out that the price of oil has fallen by more than 40% on the international market over the last 12 months, and they feel that the government could have done more to help transporters.

The leaders of the transport unions, including FUTRAH, MUTH, APCH and FTGNH, are giving the government 3 days to review its decision. They point out that the law of March 9, 1995, which establishes the mechanism for adjusting petroleum product prices in the event of a 5% variation on the international market, and call on the government to apply the provisions relating to the targeted subsidy.

FTGNH General Secretary Marcelin Jean-Philippe warns that if the government does not react within the 72 hours allotted to it, it will face opposition from the entire transportation sector. FUTRAH's national coordinator, Montès Joseph, also calls on the government to respect the 1995 decree, while Jacques Anderson Desroches of the MUTH calls for measures to ensure safety on the roads, allowing transporters to go about their business freely.

Despite this opposition from trade unions, the government has not signaled it will change its decision to lower the price of petroleum products..


Translated by CHIP editors


Posted Sept. 2, 2023