Thursday, April 23, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The People's National Party Spokesman on Energy, Phillip Paulwell, says he is flabbergasted at the admission of Energy Minister, Fayval Williams, that the Petrojam Pricing Committee is currently adding US$41 barrel to bump up refinery margins and profit.

In a statement this afternoon, describing the action as “abusing the product pricing formula”, Paulwell said the effect of applying this large sum is that consumers may be paying as much as double the amount they should be charged.

He said the addition of theS$41o ex-refinery prices without objection from the minister is an indication that ministerial oversight of Petrojam continues to be weak and is resulting in consumers paying extraordinarily higher pump prices in an era of falling prices in the international market.

Paulwell said this adjustment has always been a part of the Petrojam pricing to provide a refinery margin butS$41s unconscionable and explains why Jamaican consumers are still paying relatively high retail prices.

He added that the minister's explanation that the additional amount is being done via variable market adjustment is unsatisfactory, as the provision has always existed but never used to gouge consumers.

He noted that no minister of energy in both the PNP and Jamaica Labour Party administrations have ever allowed this abuse of consumers by Petrojam.

Paulwell said he is calling for an immediate roll back of the US$41djustment to a more acceptable level and a recalculation of ex refinery prices to be charged this week.

"With the economy in crisis due to the effects of the coronavirus, Jamaicans should not be asked to bear unnecessarily high energy prices," the PNP said.

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