NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis has stated that the government has no plans to take any action that would result in an immediate increase in fuel prices for motorists.
In response to concerns raised by petroleum retailers on New Providence regarding their fixed profit margins on fuel, Halkitis remarked, “We have been in some discussions for some time. The concerns of the retailers have been the margins. They have not had a margin increase in a number of years and they have some additional concerns.”
Halkitis while addressing the issue in the Senate acknowledged that petroleum retailers who rent their premises have expressed concerns about their rent and franchise fees paid to the oil companies. He added that in their discussions, the government has been empathetic to their situation, and he has publicly stated that the government has no intention of taking any action that would immediately raise fuel prices.
According to Halkitis, there have been conversations regarding transitioning from a fixed margin. He urged continued dialogue and noted that the government has not been “deaf” to the retailers’ plea.
Meanwhile, petroleum retailers on New Providence have reported that they have decided to take action to ensure the survival of their businesses as talks with the government over their current fuel margins have failed to produce the desired outcomes.
Raymond Jones, president of The Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association, disclosed that 80% of petroleum retailers on New Providence have opted to take action to decrease their operating expenses.
“We can no longer operate profitably in The Bahamas. Our meeting was intended to determine the next course of action to raise awareness of our cause and the difficulties we currently face,” Jones stated.
Jones went on to say that petroleum retailers must reduce their operating costs because they can no longer operate on a $0.54 margin, given that their costs, such as salaries, have risen by 24%.
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