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National Butane Company to Reduce Costs to Consumers

National Butane Company to Reduce Costs to Consumers
August 17
08:50 2019

Saturday, August 17th. 2019 –
By Marion Ali –

The House of Representatives met in Belmopan on Friday and one of the Bills tabled was for a National Liquefied Petroleum Gas Project. This is a proposal by a slew of Belizean investors – mostly PUPs – to have a National Gas Company that will be a public/private sector partnership.

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Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that the partnership will help to properly standardize the cost, supply and pricing of butane.

The company will consist of five directors, including Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight, Gilbert Canton, Brad Freking, Marion Usher and Michael Bowen. Canton is the former Chief Executive Officer of Belize Natural Energy Limited and Marion Usher is the son of the late Jane Usher; while Michael Bowen is the President of Bowen and Bowen Limited.

But Lake Independence Area Representative, Cordel Hyde raised concern, saying that the Bill offers no guarantees for affordable butane, which is an essential commodity for the majority of Belizeans.

“Eighty-three percent of all households use butane. It’s as essential as water, as toilet paper, as pack bread. I see there is some guarantee of a rate of return to the investors. I would have wanted to see a guarantee in terms of a commitment to the people that the cost of butane would be less,” Hyde remarked, pointing out that the company will get a 15-year protection and tax exemptions.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow assured that having the national monopoly can only mean a better situation for consumers.

“The government – whichever government will be on the board – will ensure that in fact, it is brought in in a way that will see that what is happening to us now, where the Mexicans all get together and basically…hold us to ransom. They come and they say this is the price you will allow us to charge, otherwise we wahn stop importing the gas. So this, if it does nothing else, takes us out of that stranglehold that these foreigners have, on not just government, on the people of this country. And absolutely, with this National Gas Company, you will see a lowering of prices to the consumer,” Mr Barrow reasoned.

Barrow explained that government looked past color because they think having the national gas company is in the interest of Belizean consumers.

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