SME Chamber

No decision by the Government Authorities – Are we heading for a Christmas without Gas!

Gas Distributors, Water Bowser
Operators, Lotto receivers and Importers of Electrical and Electronic Equipment
have barely anything in common. However behind the scenes, beyond the concern
of the public, the man in the street, all of these sectors have their
livelihood left hanging by incompetent Authorities appointed by the Government
of the Day.

Gas Distributors have been in this
saga since October 2008. In October 2008, Legal Notice 249 was published and
totally liberalized the gas distribution retail sector without even recognizing
that 31 distributors already existed in the market covering services across all
the island. The new Legal Notice gave way to the issuing of two new
authorizations to distribute LPG in cylinders.

We are of course aware today that
Legal Notice 249 of 2008 was prepared by the big boys and handed to Government
so that his job was only to effectively transpose it. Government gave in to the
demands of investors with the excuse of liberalizations and the Services

Since then the saga of discussions to
rectify this anomaly has been never ending. The public is not a part of this
because it keeps getting the service at prices fixed by MRA. The deliveries are
effected to every corner of the island. There are no exorbitant additional
fees. And since the service continues the Government Authorities do not feel
that they have to decide on their future. It seems that Government and its
appointed authorities only hear the distributors the day they decide to put
down their delivery vehicles and cease to provide a service. Of course, GRTU is given
the dog‘s lead. We continue to be provided with a scenario that makes us
gullible enough to accept that something is being done behind the scenes.
Gullible we are not and stupid neither!

What worries us is the fact that on
the eve of an election the Government of the day should be working hard 36/7 to
make sure that pending issues are solved. The way these issues have not been
solved and are not being tackled makes us think that the Government of the day
deep down has acknowledged defeat at the polls already. Then they would leave
these problems to the Labour Party to solve with the added spice that they
would then point fingers at those who would not solve them overnight.

If this is the scenario, then GRTU is
appalled at such an approach. We call black black and white white. Time is
running out fast and taking small and medium sized enterprises in these sectors
for a ride is not acceptable at all. For one the gas distributors have had more
than enough promises more than enough time frames.

The coming week is telling time for
the Government of the day or caretaker Government (depending on the Budget
vote). We are told that Government is waiting for a decision from MCCAA. Where
is this decision? Where is the safeguard hero of Troy who is supposed to be a
Minister for the SMEs, special envoy for SMEs. MCCAA falls under his umbrella.
Is it possible that he cannot pinch any one's a…… at the Authority? Or is he
just a pawn in a lion's den?

Once MCCAA issue this famous or
infamous decision, we could then expect the Government to take the next move.
And move it will have to, either left or right! Government will have to decide.
Gas Distributors will no longer bite their nails. Time is more then up! What
happens next week in this sector will of course decide whether what the public
has been used to, to date, continues over the Xmas period and into the New Year
peacefully and with good intents. If there are no decisions next week
then…gas supply to your doorstep is no longer a guarantee. And if there's
anyone to blame, blame the Government of the day!

As they say procrastination is the
thief of time!

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