Some days ago, the electricity supplier Jamaica Public Service JPS announced an average increase of 8% on electricity bills for all their customers due to reasons such as the devaluation of the Jamaican Dollar.
Phillip Paulwell, former Energy Minister, has come out in open criticism on behalf of consumers and businesses struggling to make ends meet during this unprecedented time calling the increase as completely unreasonable.
He argues that Jamaica is the only country where people are having to facing increasing bills instead of relief which governments worldwide are trying to provide to the public.
To counter this increase, the opposition spokesman has requested the government to immediately remove the SCT, Special Consumption Tax, and the GCT, General Consumption Tax, on electricity.
This would bring about a reduction in the prices of fuel at the pump and reductions in electricity bills. He accepts that the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar is a valid reason for the increase in prices but the portion of the SCT that was intended to contribute to the Hedge Fund was a significant portion of the bill.
JPS themselves has made a similar request earlier to remove the GCT and SCT but the government had denied this saying that it was not feasible at this time.
Phillip also called on the Finance Minister asking him if his boasts of not hedging and forward purchasing oil were true. If so, the country could benefit from the prices of oil which had reached rock bottom worldwide.