Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis announced the upcoming rate increase in Bahamas Power and Light’s fuel surcharge last week at a press conference.
President of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, Robert ‘Sandy’ Sands, says that industry stakeholders are apprehensive of the move. He told ZNS News, “its extremely concerning because energy costs represent our second highest cost factor in the tourism industry. And also it has come at a time when hotels are beginning to rebound from the double pandemic of hurricane and COVID and was beginning to see a sustained bit growth and improvement. It is unfortunate that this level of increase is coming at this time.”
The electricity fuel surcharge rise is set to take effect next month and is estimated to last eighteen months. Sands believes that there are some things the government can do to mitigate. He said, “a review of VAT on the fuel surcharge portion, maybe there can be some relief or some consideration or some forgiveness, that’s number one. To look at ways in the future for improved hedging because we were the beneficiaries of that pricing level as a result of hedging. And thirdly, to accelerate the transition to other forms of energy, renewable energy, more efficient energy, that is also less costly and less negatively impactful on tourist companies and resorts.”