18 Nov 2008

Solomons government open to increase fuel price rises

4:13 pm on 18 November 2008

The Solomon Islands commerce ministry says it's considering allowing a petrol price rise, but it needs to ensure that the public can afford it.

The fuel price is regulated by the government and petrol costs 1.20 US dollars per litre, diesel 1.26, and kerosene 1.40.

Fuel retailers in Honiara say they are struggling to stay in business and are demanding a profit margin increase from 7 to 28 US cents per litre.

They closed their businesses yesterday in a protest, but have now re-opened.

The ministry's permanent secretary, Jeffrey Wickham, says it's working on the issue.

"Our fear is that if such a large increase comes into power, then of course, it'll have a wider effect on prices and goods. Whilst we are in this situation, we'll be trying our very best to stabilise things, we need to be cautious. But at the same time we'll be listening to the fuel service owners."

Jeffrey Wickham hopes to resolve the matter within two weeks.