LAST month the price of crude fell below the $USD30 a barrel mark for the first time since the beginning of the global economic recession. It took but a few days for petrol prices to fall by up to 21 cents in Tonga. But in most of the Pacific, fuel prices remain unaffected by changes around the world. In a region far-removed from the world’s oil suppliers and the massive refineries which turn a viscous black liquid into fuel, the Pacific is at the mercy of global conglomerates which control supply and pricing.
Fuel is vital for so many regional industries, chiefly tourism, transportation and fisheries. Without fuel our fragile economies would collapse within months. Given our dependence on fuel, it is disappointing in the extreme that regional leaders have been unable to settle on a formula for bulk buying of such an important commodity. Fiji is one of the few countries which has the benefit of hydro-electricity schemes because of its mountains and rivers.
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