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By Masood Ahmed
(Version in عربي)
For decades, countries in the Middle East and North Africa have relied heavily on food and fuel price subsidies as a form of social protection. And, understandably, governments have recently raised subsidies in response to hikes in global commodity prices and regional political developments.
Like many things, there may be a time and a place for using subsidies.But, they need to be better targeted. And, often, there will be better alternatives. Alternatives that do a better job of protecting the poor.
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In their blog, Ben Clements and Vitor Gaspar make the points that global energy subsidies are still very substantial, that there is a strong need for reform in many countries, and that now is a great time to do it. This blog sets out what we mean by “energy subsidies,” provides details on their estimation, and explains how they continue to be high despite the recent drop in international energy prices (Chart 1).
Our latest update of global energy subsidies shows that “pre-tax” subsidies—which occur when people and businesses pay less than it costs to supply the energy—are smaller than a few years back. But “post-tax” subsidies—which add to pre-tax subsidies an amount that reflects the environmental, health and other damage that energy use causes and the…
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Americans United for Change has launched a campaign to Free Our Oil! While an interesting response to the Republican focus on lying to support drilling, I challenged this campaign, stating that this effort supports a quite dangerous framing of the problems and solutions.
If we make this just about gas prices, we are caught into a very dangerous framing. “Lowering” gas prices gets people thinking back to cheaper energy unit costs days. We need people, the nation thinking about enery as a system, as a “cost to own” rather than “cost to buy”. We (the nation) should foster upfront investment (help it) that will lower total “cost to own” by reducing wasteful use of polluting energy. While difficult in a robocall, every single message (I would argue) should avoid getting captured in messaging that fosters thinking that we can go back to days of cheaper gasoline. Over the…
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Dateline 2015-05-12, TMI:
Petronas Gas Bhd’s pre-tax profit rose to RM571.29 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015 from RM543.21 million recorded in the same period last year.
Revenue increased to RM1.1 billion from RM1.05 billion.
In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, Petronas Gas attributed the better performance to higher gas transportation and gas processing revenues, which recorded an improvement of RM26.1 million and RM21.5 million, respectively.