Over the course of one month, the prices for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) have risen by sixty-nine cents for the gallon. This was highlighted today during a press conference held by Audrey Matura, who is the attorney for the former importers of LPG. When the National Gas Company (NGC) started operations on May 14, the prices of LPG rose by thirty-one cents from $1.95 for wholesale and $3.55 for retail to $2.26 and $3.86 respectively. Yesterday, we reported that prices increased again by thirty-eight cents to $2.64 for wholesale and $4.24 for retail. According to her, the Government is being deceitful in its pricing by first creating a monopoly gas company and secondly, by not being transparent with their financial records, including the cost of importation. According to Matura, they have successfully managed to box out the rest of the competition.
Audrey Matura, Attorney at Law: “Under the legislation, under section seven of this legislation it was made clear that the national monopoly company would not be regulated by the price control legislation however they also said when we went to court that my clients could continue operating as distributors; that is not true because what has happened now is the National Gas Company which was supposedly not regulated interestingly now sells wholesale based on what the government says. So right now the government is saying wholesale is $2.64 per gallon but it would mean then that my clients when they buy from the National Gas Company should be able to sell wholesale at $2.64 because they’re regulated how they will sell. But when the National Gas Company sells to my client at $2.64 my clients can no longer sell wholesale and distribute because why would I buy it for $2.64 and sell it to you for $2.64? I make no profit. So they have relegated them to retailers but then if they put them in retailers and they compete with all the other retailers somebody is being kicked out of the chain. My clients sent my proof that they can actually get it cheaper by .30-.32 cents less than what the government is quoting and another thing, when the National Gas Company brought its container which was at the first of May thereabout they said they brought 1.4 million gallons, they have only sold .9 million, nine hundred thousand they’ve sold that means five hundred thousand gallons have not been sold so what are they doing ? They’re not selling off that five hundred thousand under the old price so they’re double dipping because the extra gallons that they have now they’ve attached effective today the new price- that is deceptive. The reason they’ve boxed out my three clients is because with them in the picture there would have been competition, they would have been able to bring in their own petroleum at a cheaper rate than the government is bringing it right now through the National Gas Company and not only that keep in mind the National Gas Company has a middle man, that middle man has to make his own profit.”
Matura also stated that NGC’s pricing method ensures that the company will continue to perform better than the other LPG companies.
Audrey Matura, Attorney at Law: “They have a formula and in that formula no matter what the prices go up worldwide the National Gas Company will always make $1.60 on each gallon. When my clients were in the importation business what they did they got the month world view price and the only markup my clients could ever get was .40 cents per gallon, it has gone now three times the amount since then. Automatically their formula puts them ahead.”
Gas Tomza, Zeta Gas, and Belize Western Energy Limited stopped importing gas as of April 1. They have taken the Government to court, and that case is still pending.