Singapore – The news that petrol duties have been increased has shocked those working as delivery and ride-hailing drivers.
On Tuesday (Feb 16), Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced during his Budget 2021 statement that petrol duties would be increased with immediate effect.
The duty will be raised by 15 cents per litre to 79 cents a litre for premium petrol, while intermediate petrol grades will be raised 10 cents a litre to 66 cents a litre.
However, additional support would be extended to help Singaporeans transition, especially to those relying on their vehicles for their livelihood, said Mr Heng.
Active taxi and Private-Hire Vehicle (PHV) drivers using petrol and petrol-hybrid vehicles will be given petrol duty rebates of S$360 handed out over four months in addition to one-year road tax rebates of 15 per cent.
For goods vehicles and buses using petrol, there will be a 100 per cent road tax rebate for one year while cars using petrol will receive a 15 per cent road tax rebate also for one year.
Meanwhile, motorcycles using petrol will receive a 60 per cent road tax rebate for one year. Individual owners of smaller motorcycles up to 400cc will also receive S$50 or S$80 in cash, depending on engine capacity.
All road tax rebates will take effect on Aug 1, 2021, and is expected to offset about one year of petrol duty increases, said Mr Heng.
“Taken together, these measures will offset about one year of petrol duty increases for taxis and motorcycles, and about two-thirds for commercial vehicles and cars,” said Mr Heng.
“Most of the expected revenue increase from the petrol duty increase in the coming year will be given out through the offsets estimated to cost S$113 million.”
The last time petrol duties were raised was in 2015 to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging less car usage.
According to a channelnewsasia.com report on Feb 17, the news has shocked full-time delivery and ride-hailing drivers. The drivers would have to shell out an additional S$60 to S$100 a month on costs, the report noted.
Mr Raymond Leong, who works as a Grab driver, admitted the news was “too sudden.”
“I can understand and appreciate the argument (of going green), but it felt too abrupt even with the rebates,” he said. Mr Leong compared the petrol duties hike effective immediately to the upcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike.
“It’s really unfair,” he added. Mr Leong disclosed he goes home with about S$120 to S$240 a day after working full-time with Grab.
Mr Simon Har, who works as a courier for logistics provider Lalamove, said he was “shocked” by the news. Mr Har shared he would typically collect at least S$100 in revenue a day. Once commissions to Lalamove and petrol station trips are deducted, he is usually left with about half or three-quarters of the amount.
Grab released a statement noting it is “engaging all stakeholders to discuss the impact of this price increase on their driver- and delivery-partners,” reported todayonline.com. At the same time, Deliveroo is “seeking to negotiate the best deals with fuel companies” to help support its 9,000 riders.
Other ride-hailing and delivery providers have confirmed they are monitoring the impact of the price hike on their drivers./TISG
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