With plans afoot to liberalise the fuel industry, Finance Minister Colm Imbert has warned dealers that government will not hesitate to put a cap on the margin that dealers will be allowed to charge, if they (dealers) decide to engage in any type of cartel activity or price gouging.
Speaking in the Senate yesterday during the debate on the Finance Bill, Imbert said, “What we are doing is creating a transparent mechanism where the ex-refinery price…that is to say…the price of motor fuels sold by a refinery that would be shipping fuel to Trinidad and Tobago, will be known and published.
“The terminal price, which is the price that Paria (Fuel Trading Company Ltd) would charge for the fuel after adding in its handling costs and other expenses…will be known and published.”
He said “The wholesale price, which is the price at which the fuel is sold to the dealers, would be known and published.
“Then the dealers would be allowed to put their own margin, to arrive at the final price at the pump.”
Imbert pointed out however, “If we discover cartel behaviour, collusion or price-gouging, the Government will not hesitate to amend the legislation appropriately to protect citizens.”
According to Imbert, the legislation allows the energy minister to “prescribe a wholesale price for any particular fuel that is lower than the world market price (of crude oil), which allows us to continue a form of subsidy for a period, as long as it is required.”
Government, he said, will continue to subsidise diesel fuel, by establishing a wholesale price that would be lower than the actual world market price of diesel, until the situation improves in the country.