WORD ON THE STREET

Public opinion from the streets of Muscat. Fuel subsidies

With the current fall in oil prices and increased costs of production, Should Oman do away with fuel subsidies?

Fahim Ameen, Auditor

I think Oman should do away with subsidies on fuel. This will not only discourage people from owning four to five petrol guzzling cars but also from driving around unnecessarily just for fun.

Kashif Rajani, Financial analyst

Although, it would be quite an unpopular move, I think this is the right time to do away with the subsidies. Going by the average monthly fuel consumption of a person, the incremental impact will not be more than RO15-20. However, it will benefit the government as Oman will be able to use the additional revenue in sectors where it is most needed.

Ammar Ali, Banker

I feel the government should continue to support people by offering subsidies, specially on fuel. Even a slight increase in fuel price will affect the price of goods and services and thus will affect common man.

Basim al Balushi, Private sector employee

I think the government should continue providing fuel subsidies as its removal will affect a large number of people who have to travel hundreds of kilometres daily for work and depend on private vehicles.

Nawras Moosa, Businessman

There should be some form of justification in providing subsidies as there are many who do not deserve the government dole. However, there are a vast majority of people who look to the government for support. I think the authorities should focus on such people rather than providing freebies to everyone.

Should proper public transport be in place before petrol prices are reviewed?

Aaiman Sabil, Private sector employee

Yes, we need a better transportation system as there are very few public buses in Oman. Most of these are very old. There are no proper routes and not many travel options are available. People who do not have a vehicle of their own have to often rely on taxis and private transporters.

Utba Asim, Manager

Yes. I think the country should first get a public transport system in place before revising fuel prices. If prices are revised, then diesel price can be brought down as public transport will be using more of it.

Karthik Narayan, Engineer

A proper public transportation system is essential for any developing country and Oman certainly needs to consider it before the country goes ahead with the decision to remove fuel subsidy like UAE, which has a much organised public transport system.

Muhannad Talib, Banker

We certainly need a proper transportation system in place before fuel prices are increased. It would be difficult for people to commute especially while going on long trips. Fuel price hike will obviously increase cost of transportation and thus will directly affect consumers.

Darab Fateh, Student

Oman needs to have a proper public transportation system before the subsidy is withdrawn. To create a more environmentally-sustainable economy people need to be more dependent on public transportation.

Would an increase in petrol prices encourage people to drive more fuel-efficient cars?

Hamida al Naamani, Private sector employee

No. I don’t think hike in fuel prices would encourage people to go for fuel-efficient cars. For example, people like me would not give up big cars at any cost as they are my passion. Moreover, every country at some point hikes prices of goods and services. We should always be ready to accept change.

Hamed al Nadabi, Engineer

Raising fuel prices would undoubtedly force people to look for cheaper options like buying small and efficient cars or using public transport. But, this depends on the revised fuel prices and whether there would be an increase in salaries before the decision is made. Some people, however, would continue driving luxurious cars even if it means paying more.

Nasser Khamis, Government employee

A rise in fuel prices would affect owners of small and big cars. I ride a small and fuel-efficient car as it helps me save fuel and money. But, a hike in fuel prices would still affect me because I would end up paying more. I don’t know what to do if prices of fuel are hiked.

Ashraf Khalaf, Private sector employee

Yes. hike in fuel price would definitely encourage people to go for fuel-efficient vehicles. I drive an SUV which seems to guzzle fuel. If fuel prices rise then I will have no option but to sell it to someone who can maintain it and buy a smaller car that gives more fuel mileage.

Zayoun Khamis, Private sector employee

I have always driven small cars and the engine size is what I consider first. I believe fuel price rise will not affect me as I drive a smaller and fuel-efficient car. But it will definitely change the way people ride cars in Oman. Let’s wait and see.

Do you feel the days of cheap petrol are numbered in Oman?

Aparna Jaswal, Doctor

We are so used to cheap petrol that just talks about removing subsidy is making everyone anxious. Is it possible for any country to continuously provide things at nominal rates? Do we not understand that a country, no matter how rich it is, will at some point have to take necessary steps to sustain the economy?

Dipankar Sen Gupta, Engineer

I do not think so. If at all fuel prices increase, it will not be anytime soon I guess. Talks are on I know. Let’s wait and watch. Any decision by the government will only be to benefit the country.

Rahul Chatterjee, Teacher

I feel that the days of cheap petrol are over. Be it today or tomorrow, prices will increase and people should accept the fact. I am sure people will accept the decision sooner or later.

Nivedita Dash, Private sector employee

I have been hearing people talking about removal of fuel subsidies. I have also read a number of articles on it. If it is true, then definitely the days of cheap petrol are numbered. However, I think there is some more time before it is actually implemented.

Wara Kharkongor, Teacher

I think the day is not too far, when cheap petrol would be a thing of the past. But, that doesn’t mean things would change overnight. So why should one get anxious from today itself?