Fuel duty increase too much, says Chamber

| 26/06/2010

(CNS): Although the Cayman Islands Chamber of commerce has offered its support to government for its key strategies in its three year plan it has raised concerns over this year’s budget. The business body said the 25 cent import duty adjustment on a gallon of fuel was a significant burden and was disappointed that MLAs had rejected the 20% pay cut. The chamber said its council was still reviewing this year’s budget and will release its full findings to the community when the assessment  was complete. The chamber called on government to create a favourable environment for business and address ineffective and outdated bureaucracy. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Based on a preliminaryreview, the Chamber said it supported the five key strategies that the Government has committed to implementing over the medium term — public sector reform, limits on new borrowing, broadening the revenue base of government, reducing operating expenditures and creating public/private finance initiatives.
The Chamber said it recommended and supported these strategies during talks with the Premier in September and pointed out that the private sector has already begun cost cutting in order to endure the economic difficulties.
“Our country is facing the kind of challenges that it has never faced before,” said Stuart Bostock, Chmaber President. “Although the Budget Address looks at many necessary issues, we must not lose sight of the long term economic strategy that must create a business welcoming environment for our future prosperity. One or two years from now when the world is once again looking to invest we have to be ready.
“We must put the necessary legislation in place that will give us a competitive advantage in what will be a very hungry market, and we must make sure inward and internal investment is encouraged and not hindered with ineffective and outdated bureaucracy We must remove the uncertainty from investors’ mindsand present ourselves as a viable and stable option for global business,” he added.
The Chamber said the cut to public sector salaries by 3.2% and the 10% cut to the premier and opposition leader’s salary was a step in the right direction but the failure to extend "greater reduction in salaries across the elected government is very disappointing," it added.
Offering its support to the completion of the ongoing reviews of government departments which it has  assisted, the Chamber said it hoped these efforts were not in vain.
“We look forward to learning whether any of the recommendations have been accepted by Cabinet and are incorporated in the 2010/11 Budget for implementation,” the Chamber said.
Opposing any additional revenue measures increasing the cost of doing business, the Chamber raised the fear that with so many increases in place, in particular, work permit fees, port fees and import duties that the impact on many small businesses has been too severe and these businesses need immediate relief from these recently imposed costs.
“The import duty adjustment on fuel of 25 cents per gallon, whilst generating an estimated CI$10.3 million in additional revenue for Government, is another significant burden that will drain the resources of many local businesses and the community at large,” the Chamber added.
The majority of Chamber members are small businesses and a recent survey as well as its Be Informed series has revealed very real concerns among them. “Medium and long term plans are absolutely necessary but we know that many of our members are looking for some immediate reprieve,” the chamber stated.
The business lobbying group also said it supported the development of cruise berthing and despsite its claim to environmental credentials the chamber is supporting the development of a mega yacht facility which will require extensive dredging of the North Sound and the relocation of the cargo dock.
“We welcome the news that the Memorandum of Understanding between the Cayman Islands Government, the Port Authority and DECCO was signed for the construction of two cruise ship berthing finger piers. The Chamber continues to urge Government to consider the relocation of the cargo facilities, medical tourism development, convention facilities, waterfront redevelopment in George Town and the attraction of the reinsurance and captive insurance sectors and additional private trust businesses as additional long-term revenue opportunities,” it stated.
The Chamber also announced that in support of government initiatives, it had begun work on the development of a Future of Cayman Forum; an economic development initiative that will bring together key industry associations, businesses, public sector representatives and government leaders. Forum participants would identify key drivers considered to be essential to build a sustainable economy.
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  1. dxtr says:

    Glad to see that the Goverment is trying to promote fuel conservation.

    But when will Electric cars be approved for the road?

  2. Beachboi says:

    10.3 million in revenue from this gas increase.  I have an idea that would put about 30 million in the coffer right away.   TAKE BACK THE LOTTERY SIZE LOAD OF CASH THAT YOU JUST GAVE AWAY TO CAYMAN AIRWAYS AND BOATSWAIN’S BEACH!!!  

    Does anyone else realize that this 30 million is 1/5 of the new authorized borrowing??????

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn’t the chamber tell the government to start laying off civil servants who will be asprbed into the private sector?

    The politicians seem to think that civil servants are unemployable unless they work for government.

    When you think about that belief it is hugely insulting but no one seems to notice.

    The civil service simply threatens any politician who tries to cut back the size of government with no votes from the largest voting block in the country.

    That is what has kept CAL alive all these years, it certainly wasn’t economic viability or common sense.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The beauty of all of this is that the cabinet members won’t feel it a bit.  We are paying for their gas (Government SUV’s) and their light bills (CUC) so why would they care about how much they tack on?  It won’t effect them!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is there public information on the price of fuel ?  Who knows if the gas stations are already gouging us motorists or not ?  And how much duty (of whatever description) is already included in a gallon ?

    The average price of gas in Miami is US$2.75 for a US gallon (which I think is 16 fl. oz.).  We have Imperial gallons here in Cayman of 20 fl.oz., so that would make an imperial gallon in Miami US$3.44.  Of course that already includes a retailer markup.  We pay, what, CI$4.50 a gallon here, which is about US$5.40, almost 2 bucks US more than Miami.  I realise that getting gas to the Cayman Islands means more costs, but what does it really cost to get it here, who takes what profit, and what are the Govt getting on each gallon ?

    • Kent says:

      I agree with your message, but check your facts first.


      128 fl oz = 1 us gal

      153.7 fl oz = 1 imp gal

    • concerned Rasta says:

      If you wanta good doctor you pay the price so if you want to Drive a motor car you must pay the price also. That ‘s elementry. 

      What a smart politian should do in these times is to investigate thoroughly the areas that is of most concern to the society in general. PRICES! 

      It’s a total lie that gas stations are making a profit of $1.78 a gallon. Ask Chevron and ESSO/EXXON terminal management what their costs to land the fuel in Cayman is and then you will see who is raping our country. If that were the case you’d see as many gas stations as churches, beauty salons, restaurants, and bars. Why don’t government start a CHURCH TAX or a BEAUTY SALON TAX, etc, etc!!!!

      So Mr/Mrs economic advisor to the government please get your facts straight and correct before you give wrong advise.  

    • vocal local says:

      Don’t know how much actual information is available (without an FOI request) but there is a "Dept. of Petroleum Inspection". One never hears anything from that dept. however, unless it is to justify it’s own existence and whatever the fuel companies do. But then the chief of this Govt. dept. is the former chief of one of the two local fuel companies…go figure that! Any possible conflict of interests?

      Talk about empire building!.what does this "two by four country" need with an entire dept. of petroleum inspection?…how much fuel is Cayman concerned with?

      Take that dept along with Boatswains Beach, Pedro Castle, Dept of Investment and Dept. of Hazard Mngt. and we should make a substantial savings. None of these departments/govt. bussiness can truly be said to be neccessary in these times of global austerity/economic downturn!

  6. Abandon ship! (Formerly Sir Henry Morgan) says:

    My annual 2% pay increase is going to be a huge help when they are increasing the cost of fuel by almost 6%  🙁

    It’s just depressing! Might as well jump on the bandwagon and pull of a few armed heists!

    • Anonymous says:

      Here you are complaining about the cut when you are saying you will get a 2% raise, Civil servants and a significant portion of the private sector are all getting pay cuts.

  7. Slowpoke says:

    As I am sure the Premier can verify,

    What we really need is a HUGE duty on carbs such as white rice, refined sugar, refined wheat, pasta, etc.  

    That, in combination with additional substantial duties on soda and candy, will not only increase revenue but, (in the long term), decrease morbidity and health care costs. 

  8. vocal local says:

    Maybe now the Chamber will "get real" and stop with it’s pathetic display of brown-nosing…seemingly out of fear of reprisal…like the rest of us.

    Chamber; you are a large enough body…like the Civil Service…Stand up boldly and make a REAL difference…including all of you lawyers…PLEASE!

    • Anonymous says:

      exactly! the chamber should be brave enough to call for the resignation of mckeeva……. 12 months of flip flopping, incompetence, inaction, u-turns, sham budgets…..etc..etc……