SEYCHELLES RESORTS AND RESTAURANTS UP IN ARMS OVER ROCKETING GAS PRICE
A number of Seychelles based hoteliers and owners of restaurants in regular contact with this correspondent have expressed their dismay, if not outright anger, over the sharp rise of the price for liquefied gas to now nearly Seychelles Rupees per litre.
It was learned that the government has removed the 10 Rupees per litre subsidy with immediate effect, forcing the hand of the Seychelles Petroleum Company to raise the price for commercial deliveries, while according to one source the subsidy for households continues to remain in place: The government maintains subsidies for domestic users but has told us the subsidies for commercial users like resorts and restaurants will be scrapped. This will be a significant cost rise for us and we cannot cushion that even with the best of good will. When gas prices almost double it means the consumer prices for meals in restaurants and hotels will have to go up. There is no way, with current pressure on cost already, to absorb such increases.
Another source also raised issues with the definition of domestic users and businesses or commercial users by pointing out: As a restaurant owner I am now bound to pay a lot more for my gas and my menu prices have to go up. But if I would cook take away meals from my house and sell them to my customers, I still get my gas at the same subsidized rate as before. I know government wants to protect Seychellois from rising global fuel prices, which have already jolted the cost of transport because petrol costs so much more now, but from a business view point I have to raise my concern. If take away meals will be so much cheaper, when our menu prices must go up, then we might lose business and that is also not right.
Another regular source commented that government was entirely right to keep the subsidies in place for domestic consumers, because other fuel price related increases were not resulting in raised salaries. Our government feels it has a responsibility to the people. Salary increases lag behind cost rises in daily life. Bus fares are kept low to let people live within their budgets and gas is a similar thing. I see of course that business struggle now to adjust their sales prices but at least for ordinary Seychellois government is on their side.
Since the start of the year were petrol and diesel prices raised, electricity cost have gone up and now with the risen gas prices resorts and restaurants are struggling to make ends meet. It is understood that the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association will be seeking audience with government to urgently discuss the escalating costs for their members and seek ways and means to soften the blow, which could have a serious impact on tourism revenues and visitor arrivals, should rising costs of doing business further drive up accommodation tariffs and the cost of extras while in country. Watch this space.