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Oil Dealers Threaten Strikes-Nassau Guardian

The Bahamas Oil Dealers Association (BPDA) will meet with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Economy this week as the majority of its members are demanding strikes, BPDA Vice President Basco Bastian said yesterday.

Bastian said 90 percent of the more than 20 members of the association want a strike because they are losing money as a result of the recent surge in oil prices.

“Collectively, most of them (gas stations) will be closed,” Bastian said when asked what the strike would look like.

“You may have one or two of those individuals who oppose it and may not want to close it. So it will probably stall the economy. Now most cars are petrol Recall that we are running in. There are many heavy machines that use diesel. There are many generators that use diesel in people’s homes.

“Bus transportation systems use diesel. The shipping industry uses diesel. There are various industries that are affected by the inability to buy diesel or gasoline.”

Bastian said New Providence would be the most vulnerable island to strikes. He said there are at least 30 gas stations on the island.

“I hope there are no strikes,” he said.

“That’s the last resort. We want to prevent it from happening. I don’t support it. As Vice President, I’m upset and lobbying for that. No. I’m lobbying to sit down and talk to powers to resolve the concerns of gas station operators.

“… The rise in gasoline costs in the Bahamas over the past few weeks as a result of oil prices has had a disastrous, disastrous and disastrous impact on operators at Bahamas gas stations buying fuel. If it continues at the level, there will be some serious, serious concerns. “

Economic Minister Michael Harkitis declined to comment yesterday on the possibility of a strike. But he said he didn’t expect New Providence’s gas prices to exceed $ 7 per gallon.

“If the conflict in Ukraine is contained, does not worsen, and uncertainties increase, hopefully we have seen the worst volatility,” he said.

Mr Harkitis said the government expects prices to continue to fall.

He advised dealers to continue “exercising patience” until prices returned to normal.

When asked what he thought was normal, Halkitis replied: This is what I understand as a normal supply and demand price that does not take these risks into account. “

Concerns about the cost of oil increased after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Since then, global oil prices have skyrocketed. Russia is one of the largest oil producers in the world. The cost of Brent crude and US oil has exceeded $ 100 for the first time since 2014.

As of Friday, New Providence’s petrol prices were $ 6.19 for Rubis, $ 6.16 for Esso and $ 6.25 for Shell.

Prior to the Russian attack, gas prices ranged from $ 5.16 to $ 5.37.

Gas station operators are looking for ways to stay operating at a high cost, Bastian said.

“They’re really really financially growing, but the margins are the same, because every time the cost of fuel goes up, you have to spend more money to buy the same amount or the amount you’re buying.” He said.

“For example, if you bought 5,000 gallons of gasoline for $ 10 a year ago, the same 5,000 gallons now cost $ 20, and the government-controlled and regulated margin is only 54 cents (per gallon). . “

Operators feel they can’t afford to buy fuel for the station right away, Bastian said.

He said the government is making more money from the station than the owner.

“Gas is taxed,” Bastian said.

“Gas has a VAT (Value Added Tax). Stamp duty is levied on gas. Wholesalers earn only 33 cents and we only earn 54 cents.”

Bastian said operators want the government to see the “big picture” and how they are affected.

He said he wanted the government to raise the margin, among other things.

“We need to find out how heavy government taxes affect dealers as a whole,” Bastian said.

“We want to see the proposed living wages on the table and how they affect the industry. We also want to consider converting fixed margins to a percentage base. increase. [margin] This is usually seen by most countries, especially here in the Caribbean, to determine how governments sit with us and how this current system is the best way for this particular industry. How to check the method. “

https://thenassauguardian.com/petroleum-dealers-threaten-strike/ Oil Dealers Threaten Strikes-Nassau Guardian

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