Fabian Demicoli

On fuel Government should not simply act as a transmission belt for price increases

 GRTU Requests supportive Action – The recent fuel hike has brought the transportation sector to its knees. Whether Government likes it or not, it is time to double think the way Enemalta with the support of the Malta Resource Authority are taking us all for a ride. GRTU cannot accept any more a strategy that simply places Government as a transmission belt for fuel price increases, and MRA and Enemalta are Government.

 

 

Transparancy is gone from the vocabulary of the authorities where fuel increases are concerned.

To give first an example, a waste carrier operating in one locality who in January 2010 signed a new contract with a Local Council to collect mixed waste is today, as of March 01, 2011 spending €787 more monthly for diesel expenses. This, with an average operation of 18 days a month. €787 addittional cost is incurred by two vehicles.  This carrier can thank GRTU for taking the Government to task in 2009, and negotiating an escalation clause for fuels for new contracts. Otherwise not taking into consideration further increases in twelve calendar months to come, the said contractor would have had to fork out an addittional €9444.

At least this contractor can now invoice the new fuel price escalation to the Local Council. However many new contracts remain either not even issued for tender, or their tenders issued but no final decision has been made. Take Gozo, not one Local Council has as yet signed a new agreement.

Not signing a new contract means the contractor will deliver the service to the Local Council at a price fixed seven or eight years ago, in some instances ten years ago. Utterly not acceptable. A state of fact is that in 2006 the price of disel was €0.43 per litre. This is first one sector of transport. All other transporters represented by GRTU – bowser owners, jobbers, burdnara and other haulers, construction materials haulers and so many others using vehicles for deliveries and distribution supply cannot take this attitude of disregard from the authorities. These transporters cannot simply pass on the cost to the end purchaser and then onwards to the consumer.

GRTU  is not for confrontation but GRTU cannot accept a situation where everything goes irrespective of the damages to so many micro firms. Our members, from the transport and distribution networks have to pay thier fuel bill at the end of the month to the Station owner who is also our member and the station owner has to pay Enemalta and if the carrier does not come up with the funds, Enemalta stops supplies. Its a viscious circle, so were putting our foot down! That is why Government intervention is a must

The time for an amatuer approach is over. The reality is that with the way Government continues to treat this issue, next month the situation will be worse. Next month will see further increases and the month after even more. This is the reality of the current scenario. There is no beating round the bush. If your a haulage contractor, a transport contractor, a business that depends heavily on fuels, GRTU urges you to get down to work and discuss escalation clauses for fuel increases wherever you have business on going.

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