NEW FUEL PRICES SHOCK PAPUA NEW GUINEA DRIVERS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 16, 1999 – Post Courier)---Fuel prices shot up 30 percent on Thursday with the implementation of a new government excise tax, catching many drivers off guard.

Prices for gasoline and outboard fuel (Zoom) went up by 31 toea a liter (100 toea = 1 kina; US$ 1 = 2.73224 kina on August 16, 1999; 1 liter = 1.06 quarts).

Prices for diesel and kerosene, however, were hardly affected.

Management accountant with fuel suppliers BP PNG, Ltd., Simon Simdiken, said the price increase was to have taken effect Thursday morning.

However, the notice came late, so it came into force after lunch the same day.

Before the price increase, BP service stations were charging K 1.00 a liter for petrol. This has increased to K 1.35 a liter.

Simdiken said other main ports -- Rabaul, Lae and Madang -- would be charging the same price, while prices in smaller ports would range from K 1.38 to K 1.40 a liter.

He said prices in rural areas would rise further.

Diesel and kerosene prices rose one toea from 69 toea a liter; outboard fuel (Zoom), from K 1.09 to K 1.45.

Mobil Oil New Guinea, Ltd. service stations have increased their fuel prices by the same margin.

Accounts Officer Daphne Auma said they had increased the price for petrol from K 1.09 to K 1.35 a liter; diesel and kerosene, by one toea to 70 toea and outboard fuel from K 1.11 to K 1.45.

She confirmed that the price increase was due to the new excise tax imposed by the Government's mini-budget handed down last week.

Shell PNG, Ltd. service stations are charging K 1.69 a liter for petrol, diesel and kerosene 57.3 toea, and K 1.43 for outboard fuel.

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