vendredi 23 mai 2008

Happy Seychelles, paying less for fuel than Europeans! (WHAT?)

Don’t you just love the frequent misinformation published in the Seychelles’ daily newspaper, Nation?

Take this little titbit in today’s contribution under Commodity Trading on the International Market -Fuel price comparison- Seychelles and Europe

Norway and the United Kingdom are major oil producers in Europe, yet the prices of fuel at the pumps in the two countries are higher than in import-dependent Seychelles.

The prices of petrol (bennzin) and diesel in Seychelles now are R11.50 and R12.00 a litre, respectively.

In Norway petrol costs R22.10 a litre. Diesel is R21.68 a litre.

Motorists in the UK are charged R20.12 for a litre of petrol, and R19.10 for a litre of diesel.

Petrol costs the equivalent of R18.92 a litre in Germany. Diesel costs R17.44 a litre.

There! It’s official. In black and white print! The Seychellois can be grateful to be paying less for fuel. Why complain of high costs when even the Europeans are forking out more for the same commodity?

Now, I really do not want just to bash away at the bloke who is earning his keep by churning out such rot! But it really is annoying to find, in this day and age, such cheap propaganda! Classic misinformation inherited from a not-too-distant-and-still-quite-present past.

However useless it might be, the Nation needs a dose of reality.

If one were to make a comparison of what it actually costs in terms of percentage of the purchasing power of the EU countries cited and Seychelles, one would conclude that the Seychellois have every right to be concerned over cost at the pumps!

Let us extrapolate a minimum monthly wage in the three EU countries mentioned on a basis of a 38hr/week, bearing in mind that there are no legal limits for same in Norway and Germany

This minimum wage would be approximately €1761 monthly in Norway, (on the basis of 92K/hr and an exchange rate Kr : € of 0.126), €1053 in the UK (on the basis of £5.52/hr and £ : € rate of 1.25), €1310 in Germany and €166 in Seychelles. (I am using an approximate exchange rate of Rs.15 to the € and a Seychelles’ monthly minimum wage of Rs2500)

The purchasing power of the three EU countries is thus 6 to 10 times that of Seychelles.

For a Norwegian, the cost for a litre of petrol represents 0,08% of his monthly wage.

For the Seychellois, the same litre of fuel is 5,75 times more expensive, at 0,46% of the monthly salary.

In other words, while the Norwegian can purchase over 7L of fuel for an hour’s work, the Seychellois, for his hour of work, can only buy 1,43L of fuel. Five times less! It is four and three times less in comparison to a German and Briton.

Then of course the comparison will not be complete without considering the number of times the Seychellois driver has to fill up as opposed to the EU driver.

Indeed, inter-city / state car usage in the EU (or any other large country with well-developed road infrastructure) is more fuel - efficient over longer travel distances and higher speeds (say 5L/100km at speeds 90-120km/h) and fairly low gradient roads, compared to the less fuel-efficient travel in Seychelles (say 8-11L/100km at below 60kmh) and comparatively steeper gradients. Thus the recurring anguish each time a Seychellois checks in at the filling station.

This is the reality Nation would blissfully ignore and would keep from its readers!

It is also, in my view, the reasonable and bias-free way to make any comparison at all between fuel (or any commodity) costs in EU and Seychelles (and anywhere else for that matter)

The Nation would perhaps do best, in the greater interest of informed journalism, to avoid the pitfalls of cheap brainwashing of which a certain local leader was so fond, when he recurringly and proudly compared Seychelles' GDP to those of some selected poor African nations, and in that comparison, finding cause for some self-congratulations in our country being economically sound and prosperous!

Happy and comfortable delusions! The one-way road to economic inertia and the abyss!

Unless it is all part of a cynical and cunningly devised strategy to maintain social peace as well as control over the populace by systematically dishing out cheap misinformation. Big Brother is Wise. Big Brother knows what he is doing. Trust in Big Brother.

Let Me Out!!!