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Fuel pumps shut down

The Association of Fuel Retailers in Dominica hereby advises the general public that they will cease operations from September 3, 2021, at 1:00 pm until further notice. According to a release from the association, “the members have engaged the Ministry of Trade since July 23, 2021, in an effort to avoid the collapse of this critical industry.”

“We further notified the Ministry of Trade on August 24, 2021, that our collapse was imminent, and being an industry that is fully controlled and regulated by the Government, that intervention was critical and should be done with a matter of urgency. The Ministry is unable to give a timeframe when this critical issue can be resolved.”

“In 2014 it was agreed that there would be yearly reviews between the government and the Retailer’s Association, but this has not occurred since. The members have weathered significant financial strain since, and especially from the beginning of this pandemic, with fuel volumes depressed, costs increasing and margins, controlled by the government, immovable. It should be noted that
the retailers believe that it was imperative that the minimum wage be raised for persons to be able to have a decent standard of living. However, the entire impact needed to be analyzed as to the ripple effects on the productive sectors and how they could be mitigated and remedied. This impact is particularly acute in the fuel sector where margins are very low.”

The release concluded by stating that “the fuel retailers of Dominica can no longer sustain their operations, pay their workers, and secure their stations without a clear process of recovering those costs through their operations which is entirely government-mandated, in price, profit, operations, safety, human resource, and security costs. We stand ready to continue to serve the public once we are able to do so cost-effectively.”

Vehicle owners cued up in long lines to ensure that they got fuel in their tanks. Meantime, Director of Trade Mathan Walter said that there was enough fuel in Dominica and persons need not worry.

He stated that they are in “constant dialogue” with the association to rectify the situation.

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