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Apr 8, 2020

G.O.B. Threatens LPG Importers Over Emergency Discounts To Belizeans During COVID-19 Crisis

G.O.B. and the LPG importers are sparring again. Three of the six liquefied petroleum gas companies in Belize—namely Belize Western Energy Limited, Gas Tomza, and Southern Choice Butane (Zeta Gas)—are at odds with the Government for  threatening to confiscate their inventory and essentially take them out of business for noncompliance. Back in November of 2019, G.O.B. passed a statutory instrument preventing L.P.G. companies from controlling butane prices. The prices are now fixed. So when the companies offered a promotional rate for butane for the month of April to its consumers during the COVID-19 economic hardship, the Bureau of Standards fired off a letter to the importers threatening their operations. Attorney Audrey Matura is one of the counsels representing the LPG importers and today called a press conference to spill the beans on what’s happening.

 

Audrey Matura

Audrey Matura, Attorney-at-law

“Every institution that deals with what consumers have to use are offering relief. So what is wrong with the LPG companies offering their own relief? On the first of April they launched their promotional prices and in they reduced the price of butane gas and they can do it because the world market is lower. As a result of that, the Belize Bureau of Standards, which is the one that deals with controlled prices, called Mister Bautista threatening him that they can go and take away their inventory. But since then, yesterday, they also sent letters to the other companies threatening them. We are therefore saying that that is unjust. This is the opposite of what you all had. When COVID-19 crisis set in here in Belize, what some of the stores were doing was price gouging. These companies are saying the same way we know that the world market is lower, it is just right that we transfer these benefits to the consumers. The government has, by letter, sent to our clients indicating to them that the license to import LPG will only be granted to them up to the thirtieth of April. So come the first of May, the new company should be performing. That’s the expectation.”


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