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Sep 25, 2019

Opposition Leader Questions Monopoly on Butane Importation

John Briceño

The discussion on the National Gas Company continues.  As we have reported, the government has lent support to the company which will have full control of the supply of butane in Belize, taking over the job from three main companies that imported butane from Mexico.  These companies, Belize Western Energy Limited, Gas Tomza, and Southern Choice Butane, say the new company will negatively impact them but, in a release, the National Gas Company said their role in the supply chain starts and stops with the importation of butane.  The distribution and retail sales continue as is. Their release adds that “the supply of L.P.G. to consumers in Belize will be more secure and regulation of prices and quality will be significantly enhanced.” Government will have twenty-five percent shares and will take over the company after a fifteen-year term.  Today, Opposition Leader John Briceño says he supports part of the deal, but questions the monopoly of the importation.

 

John Briceño, Leader of Opposition

“Where I raise concerns, you know, is the issue on the monopoly, you know. If you can make that big investment and you can provide a better service, a better quality product and at a cheaper price, that by itself would allow you to, to be able to take over the market. But the concern now that is being raised by everyone is that now that the government is saying they are going to be the sole importers. There have been a lot of problems with the importers, the three present importers where we have found cases or concern of collusion that they try to sect the price and to a higher cost to the public. So, I think that there can be some good to what the investors are doing with the National Gas Company but there is still this grave concern, the concern about the monopoly. Who is going to be setting the price? Who is going to ensure that the product that we are getting is going to be a good product? How are we going to ensure that Belizeans, the public, they are going to get a cheaper price, a better price so that all of us can benefit. Those are some of the questions that need to be answered. An I know some of you say well we been answering but I don’t think it has been clearly articulated so that Belizeans can feel a level comfort to say ok probably we can give it a chance for it to work.”


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