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MSBM CONFERENCE 2015: Mahfood urges Petrojam to pass on oil savings faster

Published:Friday | January 9, 2015 | 12:00 PMMcPherse Thompson

President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), William Mahfood, has called on oil refinery Petrojam to be more transparent in the pricing of petroleum products and to ensure that the benefits of lower oil prices are passed on to consumers much faster.
Mahfood said that in December, after months of significantly lower oil prices on the global market the PSOJ called for a greater reduction in tandem with global oil prices.
He said he met with representatives of Petrojam recently and discussed the pricing mechanism, but said “unfortunately the reduction this week in the price of petroleum products was not what we expected. As a matter of fact, this afternoon Petrojam announced a $1 per litre reduction and I felt that it was not a reasonable reduction,” the PSOJ president said on Wednesday at the official launch of the Mona School of Business and Management inaugural conference on business and management at the University of the West Indies Western Jamaica Campus in Montego Bay.
“I was happy with the frankness of the discussion”, however, “we at the PSOJ think it is important that more transparency on the pricing is made available to the public and by also ensuring that the benefits are passed on to consumers faster.”
Mahfood, who was making his first official address since he was elected president of the private sector group in December last year, said that with the continued decline of world oil prices it was also critical for the savings to be passed on to the energy companies.
“This will result in a much needed economic stimulus and help our ailing economy while contributing positively to the fiscal account,” he told the MSBM conference.
Speaking more broadly on his outlook for Jamaica in 2015, Mahfood was optimistic that in 2015 Jamaica could benefit significantly from reduced oil prices, the falling crime rate, an improved legislative environment, public sector rationalisation and the expanding United States economy.
He added, however, that Jamaica continued to be affected by an ailing economy and its slow recovery, which has been affected by drought conditions and the widespread Chikungunya virus.
The PSOJ, he said, estimates that chik-V  cost the country at least 13 million man hours and robbed the country of approximately $7 billion of its gross domestic product.