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Dec 2, 2019

LPG Price War! G.O.B. to Hit Back with Legislation Amendments

There is an ongoing LPG war between the three main importers of butane, small retailers and the government of Belize. On Wednesday, during a Special Sitting of the House the Barrow Administration will introduce amendments to the Supply Control Act that would increase penalties substantially against companies that are selling butane at a price below what has been fixed by the government. G.O.B.  announced the fixed price on November fifteenth saying that it has become necessary to prevent predatory pricing by major importers. The fixed price stands at four dollars and seventy five cents per gallon in Belize City and varies slightly in other parts of the country. News Five confirmed today that Belize Western Energy Limited, Gas Tomza, and Southern Choice Butane (Zeta Gas) are selling the butane for four dollars and twenty cents per gallon. Minister of State, Investment, Trade and Commerce Tracey Taegar Panton says that the prices are unsustainable and will ultimately drive out the small retailers. 


Tracy Taegar-Panton

Tracy Taeger-Panton, Minister of State, Investment, Trade & Commerce

“It’s a price war if you will. So we had to institute a floor. We have found out though that some of these suppliers are still not respecting the floor and so we should have a house meeting this week in fact to make some amendments to the Supply Control Act to ensure that we can put in provisions in that act to penalize suppliers who do not respect government controlled prices. When the prices are ignored the persons who suffer are local retailers because they can’t buy for the prices that suppliers are paying at and they can’t sell for the price that they are buying from the suppliers. So it is creating a lot of tensions in terms of the market. LPG is a very important commodity for our households as well also for the small business in the tourism sector in particular. So government will take every measure it can to ensure that there is compliance with government regulated prices.”


Hipolito Novelo

“As it stands now there isn’t any penalty that the government can levy against these companies?”


Tracy Taeger-Panton

“Yes, there is a penalty but the penalty is negligible. So the penalties will be increased substantially as a deterrent for not respecting the price controlled measures that the government has put in place.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Have these companies been warned.”


Tracy Taeger-Panton

“Yes they have been warned. They have been advised.”


Hipolito Novelo    

“Are you able to say how many companies?”


Tracy Taeger-Panton

“Well, there are three major suppliers in the country and they have been advised of the new regulations and are aware that we will be taking additional measures to ensure that we can enforce the pricing mechanism that has been approved by the Cabinet.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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