In a statement this afternoon, the Shadow Minister of Energy, MP Phillip Paulwell, said he was flabbergasted at the admission of Energy Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, that the Petrojam Pricing Committee is currently adding US$41 a barrel to bump up refinery margins and profit.
He said the addition of the $41 to 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.
Mr. Paulwell said this adjustment has always been a part of the Petrojam pricing to provide a refinery margin but $41 is unconscionable and explains why Jamaican consumers are still paying relatively high retail prices. He said 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.
The Shadow Minister said the effect of applying this large sum is that consumers maybe paying as much as double the amount they should be charged. He said no Minister of Energy in both PNP and JLP administrations had ever allowed this abuse of consumers by Petrojam.
Mr. Paulwell said he was calling for an immediate roll back of the US$41 adjustment 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.