Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2020. 1:20 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) importers in Belize, Gas Tomza Ltd, Southern Choice Butane (dba -Zeta Gas) and Belize Western Energy Ltd (BWEL) issued a statement informing that they are being threatened by the Government for their decision to allow for emergency discounts to Belizeans.
The LPG importers have offered a promotional rate for LPG for April, 2020.
The importers cited that the decision was taken since world prices have reduced for LPG while many Belizeans have lost jobs during the COVID-19 economic hardship.
A letter from the Belize Bureau of Standards dated April 7 and addressed to BWEL stated that the supplies control unit of the BBS has become aware of the release by the importers and drew their attention to Section 3 of chapter 293 of the supplies control act.
“…for regulating or prohibiting the production, treatment, keeping, storage, movement, transport, distribution, exportation, importation, sale, purchase, use or consumption of articles, goods, of any description and in particular for controlling the prices at which such articles may be sold.”
The Importers say that since announcing the promotional rates to the country, the Controller of Supplies for the Belize Bureau of Standards, Jose Trejo made a call to one of the companies and subsequently sent a letter to each company suggesting the Government could confiscate their inventories and imprison directors if the businesses do not immediately cease their lower promotional rates for LPG.
“The Government sets the control price and despite the lower world prices for LPG, it does not want those prices to be passed on to Belizeans,” the statement says.
The letter further states “Based on the foregoing and considering that your company transacts on a price controlled commodity … by issuance of said release dated April 1st, 2020 to the general public on reduced prices and partaking in sale below the regulated price, your company is in flagrant violation of the Supplies Control (Prices) Regulation (Statutory Instrument No. 74 of 2019).”
The LPG importers indicate that the action by the government is unconscionable and the citizens of Belize need to know that the world prices have decreased and the government is refusing to pass these savings to the Belizean public.
“The companies, during this perilous time of COVID-19, is seeking to provide relief to consumers. The companies believe that the controlled price means that you cannot sell above that controlled price. However, it does not prevent the companies from offering promotional rates to aid consumers, especially since the Government’s actions are against the interest of consumers,” the statement further expressed.
The companies call on the government to allow the lower prices for LPG to be passed on to Belizeans and call on consumers to demand the benefit, especially in these difficult economic times.
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