Cyprus Mail

Fuel reduction ‘just a trick’

The Cyprus Consumers’ Union & Quality of Life on Saturday said they were not convinced the reduction of the tax on motor and heating fuel, which will come into effect on Tuesday, would actually benefit consumers.

The group said that the measure, proposed by Disy and Diko and approved by the House plenum, was in fact, a trick to dupe consumers.

In an extraordinary session, the House plenum voted on Wednesday in favour of the 5.95 cent per litre reduction in consumption tax on petrol, diesel and heating fuel. The tax reduction is five cents but adding the reduction in VAT the total amount comes to 5.95 cents per litre.

“If they really wanted a substantial and objective reduction in fuel prices, they would do other things and take measures to allow and facilitate the proper functioning of competition and would accept the full transparency of the way retail prices are calculated and enforced and proven by the Commission for the Protection of Competition (EPA) cartel of companies,” the group said in an announcement.

They had an opportunity to influence even the competition with the introduction of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for cars and ruined it, the group said, citing “the incompetence and inefficiency of state services,” and by accepting a prohibitive price for LPG, “precisely in order not to compete with other fuels.”

“If they truly wanted a reduction they could, simply as government, to keep the promise they gave us in the 2011-12 period that the doubling of some of the tax they imposed would be abolished in 2014. They could have done that now, even almost five years later,” the group said.

They added what those who made the proposal failed to mention is that “with the new year there will be a new increase in the fuel tax of 7 to 10 cents. So, the state has thrown us once again in the hands of the company cartels.”

It added that the reduction is not a real one “since it has not been ensured and guaranteed by the existing system, who and how will control that this alleged reduction will not be reaped by the companies themselves and / or the gas stations?”

Although the bill was unanimously approved, most deputies, apart from Diko and Disy MPs, expressed reservations how far the measure would positively impact vulnerable groups.