Despite the boast of Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh that the Guyana Oil Company Limited (GUYOIL) is doing well financially, fuel dealers contracted to the state-run entity believe that if the current mismanagement continues, they will be forced to permanently close their operations.
The mismanagement they described has resulted in many of the 36 dealer-operated stations running out of fuel supply for considerable lengths of time on several occasions.
As a matter of fact this situation is currently being experienced by many GUYOIL fuel dealers, with many of them having to temporarily lay off staff.
GUYOIL’s excuse is always, “The boat bringing fuel was delayed” or “There was a problem at the refinery”.
GUYOIL acquires fuel from refineries in Trinidad and Curacao and a time chartered oil tanker is hired to freight fuel to its storage facilities.
With three terminals at Providence, East Bank Demerara; Heathburn, East Bank Berbice and Adventure, Essequibo Coast, GUYOIL enjoys a total storage capacity of approximately 90,000 barrels of fuel.
Speaking at the company’s recently held 35th anniversary ceremony, Finance Minister Dr. Singh praised the entity for maintaining a high level of profit over the years.
But the private contracted dealers are convinced that a hefty profit alone is not all for a company to boast that it is successful.
“The Minister said that GUYOIL is doing well but GUYOIL can do better. Texaco and Sol don’t run out of fuel. Texaco is boasting that it is making money in Guyana, although it is selling fuel at a higher price,” one dealer explained.
A check at the GUYOIL fuel stations along East Coast Demerara over the weekend revealed that many of them had ran out of gasoline.
This, the dealers said, is causing them to lose about $100,000 everyday whenever they do not have fuel, especially with the spiraling overhead costs.
“Last week we had to close for the entire week. Even the GUYOIL owned and operated stations ran out of fuel. They are boasting about their storage capacity but they cannot even fill them at any given time,” the dealer told Kaieteur News.
Most of the dealers declined to be named fearing victimization from the company.
“So many excuses but they will never admit that it’s bad management. How could you charter one boat when your demand is excessive?” another dealer asked.
At present, all GUYOIL stations are retailing fuel at the cheapest price when compared with both Texaco and Sol stations.
This is in an effort to keep prices below $1,000 per gallon, thereby maintaining transportation cost at a manageable level for consumers.
However, with GUYOIL running out of fuel on a frequent basis, providers of public transportation are forced to buy the commodity at a higher price from the other fuel companies.
The dealers said that on many occasions they made attempts to meet with the senior management of the company but they are given the royal runaround.
The same situation obtained when they tried to seek audience with Prime Minister Samuel Hinds.
The dealers said that whenever they are fortunate to get a supply of fuel, it only lasts for about two days at a time and then they have to wait for another three days for more.
“The GUYOIL management don’t care about us the dealers, as long as their station have fuel, to hell with us,” an irate GUYOIL dealer told this newspaper.
Another bone of contention is the fact that the company limits the amount the dealers can sell to any one customer.
“I never hear Mc Donald’s limit people to one sandwich. You can buy how much you want,” the dealer said.
GUYOIL prohibits it dealers from purchasing fuel from any of the other oil company, even if the company does not have fuel to supply them.
“If we do they will say we are breaching our contract but it is they who are breaching the contract when they cannot provide us with adequate supply of fuel.”
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