BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
Fishermen and public transport in the rural areas, OBM boats, are feeling the pinch in the current fuel price hike.
They are among the many business types in the country which are affected by the rise in fuel prices.
A fisherman from the Central Islands told this paper that increase of fuel prices has really affected them because they have to travel from their home village to Honiara to sell their catch.
The fisherman who identified himself as John said with the increase in fuel prices it has affected his fishing business.
“I am expected to work extra hard like catch more fish in order to earn extra profit, because if my catch is less, I will not be able to make profits, but all the money earned will go towards fuel.
“We the fishermen all faced with the same problem and I am calling on our leaders to do something to help us local fishermen,” John said.
Meanwhile according to an analysis of the increase of fuel price by the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI), the steep price increases were seen in ‘Tapis oil’ price, the main imported fuel for Solomon Islands.
The analysis has it that, the average monthly retail fuel price in Honiara has increased from SBD$9.66 per litre in January 2022, to SBD$10.94 per litre in March and climbing to SBD$12.30 per litre in April, an increase of SBD$2.64 within a span of only three months, the highest increase the country has ever experienced.
In terms of Tax, fuel excise in Solomon Islands is 15% GST on every litre of fuel purchased. In addition to 15% GST, the Fuel Wholesalers in Solomon Islands pay taxes for Sales of 10cents per Litre (used to be a levy for road users charged at service stations, now shifted to fuel wholesalers, paid for by everyone), Duty of 50 cents, Pipeline levy of $0.0275 per Litre (charged by SIPA) contributing to the current fuel increase price at Service Station Operators, that is being experienced in this month of April 2022.
For other businesses indirectly, cost of fuel increases is in the form of high electricity costs especially in terms of power tariffs processes. Solomon Islands is a net importer of oil, therefore, unless non-oil imports fall, an increase in oil prices will result in a wider current account deficit, which indicates higher net foreign debt and lower consumption.