The Supplies Control Unit in the ministry of food security and enterprise announces that the new fixed controlled prices for the sale of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) see a decrease of six cents per gallon. The price decrease is a result of a decrease in the acquisition price of propane. Reporter, Giovanna Moguel, spoke to the owner of a well-known businessman to hear how this price decrease will impact their establishment’s performance. Here is that story.
Giovanna Moguel, Love FM News: The season for banquets, proms, and graduations are upon us, and that means that tuxedos and other formal apparel will be on high demand. The Belize Dry Cleaners is one of the primary consumers of propane and butane. Owner, Lascelle Arnold, explained that the recent $0.06 decrease of LPG doesn’t make a difference. It is still a very expensive business to operate.
Lascelle Arnold, General Manager Belize Dry Cleaners: “It affected us very badly, because we use a lot of butane, a lot of fuel. Most of the stuff that goes up, we use in this industry, especially butane. From 2021 to 2022, butane went up 67 percent, and then if you look at the fuel, it went up 45.1 percent for one year now. We have chemicals went up 23 percent, and we have linens and stuff that we purchase went up 19.5 percent.”
Giovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Arnold explained that although it is his industry’s high season, the company is not operating to gain profit but is simply staying afloat.
Lascelle Arnold, General Manager Belize Dry Cleaners: “We’ve had worse times than this when he had the lockdown. We didn’t make any money, and so, making a little or just to keep our head above the water is better than closing down. We have to see how we could work along with our customers, because if we raise the price because something went up a dollar, so you raise your thing a dollar, and it might only take one eighth of what it is you’re using then it doesn’t make sense for the customer. After a while, only so much money the customer makes.”
Giovanna Moguel, Love FM News: With the cost of everything going up, people are turning to the government to provide some kind of relief. Arnold says the government has been able to assist to an extent, but he had to do investments, so he could do business effectively and save money at the same time.
Lascelle Arnold, General Manager Belize Dry Cleaners: “As the private sector, I think we have to put our heads together and try to solve the problems. There is only so much the government could do, and if we just sit back and wait for the government to do something while we could do so much more, then I think we’re shooting ourselves in our foot. Because, there’s a lot more that we could do in being efficient, like our lights. We changed all our lights from regular 110 or 220 to 277. So, our bulbs burn far less current than regular bulbs. We just put in a new hot water system that burns much less gas than the old one. And then, the next step, we’ll be going into solar on the roof to provide electricity for the whole building.”
Giovanna Moguel, Love FM News: The spokesperson of the National Gas Company of Belize Ltd. Daniel Guttierez explained that there are several factors that influence the fluctuation of LPG prices.
Daniel Guttierez, Spokesperson, National Gas Company of Belize Ltd.: “Well, Russia is the largest producer of oil and gas products. By that, we mean oil and gas products or liquified petroleum gas, feed sacks and plastics, diesel and gasoline. These are products that come from oil and gas. So, when you remove an important part of Russia’s production from world markets, supply and demand, you will get higher prices, and that is exactly what is happening. I’ll tell you, anybody in energy tells you that they have a crystal ball and that it works well is lying to you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. It has never really worked like that. Now, there are certain trends that the industry has come to expect over the time. As the Summer months in the United States come on, and we are entering that now, the prices of liquified petroleum generally go down. However, COVID, the after effects of COVID, like I’ve said the war in Ukraine, have really made or caused major changes. So, you don’t know if that will continue. We hope to see the price of gas going down. You don’t know whether that will be the case or not.”
Giovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Reporting for Love News, Giovanna Moguel.