Vice President of the Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association, Vasco Bastian is pleading with the government for a meeting. This is in the wake of the rise in minimum wage which came into effect in January which Bastian has said negatively affected operational costs.
“We continue to struggle in this industry. And so we’re asking the Prime Minister, Mr. Davis, if you would hear my message sir. I’m asking you as a young Bahamian in this industry for X amount of years sir and you as the Prime Minister Mr. Davis, if you would have some type of compassion towards us in this industry and meet with us so we could put this matter to rest Mr. Prime Minister. You said and I know that you are a man of the people and we believe in you Mr. Prime Minister. Please Mr. Prime Minister, if you hear my voice or if you see this clip, I ask that you meet with us to try and put this issue in the petroleum industry to rest.”
Petroleum retailers have downsized staff and made shift adjustments in an attempt to mitigate the increase in overhead. Bastian said, “I would say the average station probably let about one or two persons go and that’s not only in New Providence that’s even throughout the Family Islands. The operation costs in this industry continue to rise and so we have to offset where we can in order for us to stay operational, not even profitable. You know we’ve lost profit in this business for several years. And so its at a point right now and its always been at a point where we just want to stay operational. We want to keep these people employed.”
According to Bastian, they have been trying to meet with the government for over a year to discuss such topics as margin increase, the national insurance contribution hike, business license on gross turnover and not on net profit and other matters.