The SDA urges the government to offer petrol subsidies to businesses during this time, to ease the burden on both businesses and consumers given the current surge in oil prices.
Or, at least remove the petrol tax, which was increased last year by up to 23 percent, until times are better.
Persons who predominantly rely on their vehicles for work, such as taxi drivers, PHV drivers and mobile salespersons, are already feeling the strain.
Those who the SDA spoke to say their earnings have dropped by around 30-40 percent since petrol pump prices increased.
Besides these individuals, consumers also suffer.
Already, inflation due to the rise in prices of food and commodities is hitting hard on the pocket.
A cup of kopi at the kopitiam now costs 30 percent more than it used to last year – and the surge in oil prices has not even been priced in yet.
This rise in consumer prices is down to businesses all along the supply chain incurring higher costs due to higher electricity and petrol costs – both of which are derived from oil.
Already, countries like New Zealand and the Philippines are reducing fuel taxes to ease the suffering of their citizens.
Why can’t Singapore do the same?
The SDA also urges the government to investigate potential anti-competitive practices amongst petrol companies in Singapore, and predatory pricing.
In particular, how these companies raise prices in tandem across the board and consumers are left with little choice as the price differences are negligible between companies.
When oil prices are up, these petrol companies take the chance to raise pump prices.
However, when oil prices dip, the price of petrol hardly goes down by a similar percentage.
This is unfair to consumers, who simply have to pay and pay because they are left at the mercy of these companies.
Singaporeans have had a tough 2 years so far, and even before we’ve fully recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, more hardships been thrust our way.
The government must have a heart for the people, and help Singaporeans tide through this difficult period.
Singapore Democratic Alliance