More clarity needed from Petrojam on pricing
The Editor, Sir:
The website of the US Energy Information Administration shows consistent increases in gasolene prices for the entire month of December 2016. Additionally, an article in The Gleaner's Business section on December 28, 2016, reported increases in gas prices being faced by Rhode Island residents. The increase in prices came as result of OPEC member states signing the Algiers Accord at the organisation's 171st meeting, where an agreement was reached to cut oil production by approximately 1.2 million barrels per day.
In the past, Petrojam has consistently articulated a key tenet of its pricing policy of moving its weekly published prices in accordance with movements in the US Gulf reference prices. For the past month, it has not escaped notice that despite the upward movements in Gulf gasolene reference prices, Petrojam has actually decreased its weekly announced prices.
Under normal circumstances, as a consumer, one would be happy for the opportunity to pay less at the pumps. However, this cannot be as a result of ad hoc manipulation of prices that may be to the benefit of a select few.
To maintain transparency and the public's trust, Petrojam needs to answer the following questions:
- Has the company changed its pricing policy? If so, what is the new basis for pricing petroleum products?
- If the pricing policy has not changed, what is the rationale for Petrojam's recent pricing decisions?
- How much of an impact will the changes have on the country's agreement with the International Monetary Fund?
- Is this a deliberate attempt to mislead the Jamaican people for political mileage?
- Are there any conflicts of interest regarding recent board and management appointments to the company?
As a state-owned entity, Petrojam must assure the citizens of Jamaica that the company is operating in the public's best interest and is not being used as a political tool to advance the interests of a few political affiliates.