The Minister of Economic Affairs, Sen. Hon. Michael Halkitis appeared at press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday where he was asked about ongoing negotiations between the government and petroleum retailers.
Halkitis said, “we understand the plight of the retailers. The conditions that they have to operate under including rent, franchise fees and those sorts of things, right, it makes it difficult for them. And we understand and that is why we were able to reach out with them and offer them some element of relief that I had discussed previously. And so we continue to talk. I had a bring conversation, just before I left for the promotional tour, where an additional idea was sort of floated, we have to sort of hash it out. As I’ve said before, our position is, we, you know, we spoke about inflation and high prices today. The immediate effect of a margin increase would be higher prices at the pump which will affect every single person in this room and everyone who owns a car. The government doesn’t want to be the cause of that.”
The Minister asked the retailers for forbearance. “We continue to meet. We understand their plight, we’re not unsympathetic but we just believe that it would be counterproductive to go with a margin increase at this time.”