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Sep 19, 2019

Prime Minister Says No Apologies on Supporting the LPG Deal

Dean Barrow

The National Gas Company continues to be a subject of criticism. Three of the major butane suppliers, Southern Choice Butane Limited, Gas Tomza and Belize Western Energy Limited are speaking out against the new company.  As we have reported, the National Gas Company, in which government has twenty-five percent shares, is a public private partnership which is to supply all the LPG or butane to consumers, shifting away from the current Mexican supplier.  The proposition is that the National Gas Company will ship LPG into the country under a fifteen-year term license.  The company is expected to build three facilities which will be handed to government after the license runs out.  On Tuesday, the butane companies sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Dean Barrow requesting an urgent meeting to discuss and analyze the implications of said project.  Today, the Prime Minister said he had not seen the letter. But he did say that in reference to the license, government was not prepared to carry out such a project on its own.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“This struck us as a good deal. The private sector people are going to make all the equity and debt investment. Government as a reward or in consequence as a quid pro quo for licensing the deal and being prepared to give exclusivity gets twenty-five percent shareholding in the company of the company off the top. So without putting in any money, any profits that will be made we will get our share and at the end of this period it’s just handed over back to government, it struck me as a good deal and it still does, it still does so strike me. So, I have no apologies to make there. My understanding is that they are, if not on board, reconciled to what is happening and  may even be interested in trying to secure a piece of the action in terms of the procuring of the LPG and freight charges that are reasonable by way of getting the product in big creek.”

 

The Belize Business Bureau has issued a release stating that the new monopoly on butane is “regressive; places a monopoly tax on the poor; increases inequality; creates job losses and further unemployment.”  In their letter to the PM, the butane companies state that they currently directly employ three hundred and fifty workers and indirectly employ one thousand other persons; they have invested millions and believe in fair competition.


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