Audley Shaw, gas retailers trade charges over petrol price accusation
A war of words – at least for now - has developed between Finance Minister, Audley Shaw, and the Jamaica Gasoline Retailers’ Association (JGRA) over retail petrol pricing policies.
In response to a direct accusation from the minister that petrol retailers were contributing to inflation by not equally adjusting their prices to reflect lower and higher oil prices, Shaw has earned the fury of the association, which has now reportedly demanded an outright withdrawal of his statement.
Shaw levelled the accusation while addressing the inaugural Natural Gas Conference at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Thursday.
His main bone of contention was his perception that petrol prices at the pumps do not fall as fast as they move upwards in response to oil price increases.
He advised that he would be writing to the ministers with portfolio responsibilities for energy and commerce, requesting an investigation into what he deemed to be unfair pricing policies within the local petrol trade.
Shaw also called for Petrojam and the petroleum marketing companies to respond to gas pricing concerns.
But the JGRA has expressed alarm about the minister blaming petrol retailers for perceived artificially high petrol prices.
The association has, instead, pointed to the Government as having applied additional taxes on gasoline, which were said to be now reflected in pump prices.
However, it is understood that the association has written to the minister requesting a meeting, for him to fully outline and explain his position and perspectives on the matter of retail petrol pricing.