Former President of the Guyana Petrol Dealers Association Steve Chung is calling on petrol dealers to unite against what he said are the excesses of oil companies as they are apt to continue unprincipled practices, forcing dealers out of business.
Chung who has been a Texaco/Rubis dealer for almost four decades said over the past 10 years, the milieu for dealers has degraded and that oil companies have whittled away at the small profits that dealers were making, reducing the dealers to commission agents without security or contract.
In a press release, he said many dealers have been prevented from setting their prices and allowing market forces to operate while the oil companies fix prices and dealers’ margins. The lion’s share of the profits are retained by the oil companies and the dealers are reduced to using family labour and working excessively long hours just to keep the businesses viable and to survive personally, he said.
These practices have effectively forced out business dealers who have invested in their franchises and in building their brand and station image, he said. These include the Shell stations at McDoom, Regent Street and Providence “while the Ogle Shell Station died fighting an unfair contract imposed by Shell.” Chung who is the longest serving president of the Petrol Dealers Association asserted that unless petrol dealers unite against the “divide and rule tactics” the companies have employed, dealers will be reduced to mere robots.
He is calling on the government, the Private Sector Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Trades Union Congress and the opposition parties to look into the contracts being imposed on the dealers and to ensure that they are properly compensated for the years of service which they have given in the event that the oil companies terminate their contracts.
Meanwhile, with gasoline prices passing the $1,000 per gallon mark, Chung is appealing to the government to lower the taxes on fuel so that the burden of the increase will be cushioned. He recalled that a few years ago government had promised to lower the taxes whenever the fuel prices meet or go over the $1,000 per gallon mark.