June 16, 2021

The Editor speaks: OfReg goes to Hong Kong

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Colin Wilson

Why on earth it needed outside consultants to work on the assessment of our fuel market is quite beyond me.

However, I obviously know nothing except the price we pay for fuel here is HIGH!

In the press release we published yesterday (Tuesday) OfReg announced:

“The winning bidder of the formal Request for Proposal to perform the economic and competition assessment of the fuels markets across the Cayman Islands has commenced work. The Principal Consultants from Economics Partners Limited, a Hong Kong based firm with global regulatory and economics expertise, arrived in the Cayman Islands and has been meeting with stakeholders to carry out the ‘market diagnostics’ stage of the assessment.

“Economics Partners Limited were selected last month by OfReg following an open competitive bid process by the Central Procurement Office to perform the assessment of the fuels market across the Cayman Islands, and the assessment is expected to be completed within six months.

“The Fuel Market Definition and Economic and Regulatory Assessment will deliver the following:

• A definition of the fuels market in the Cayman Islands which will identify the products that fall within the relevant markets in the sector, and the way those markets behave;

• An assessment of the market(s) in the Cayman Islands. This will include analysis of the impact of the supply chain, logistics and infrastructure on the proper functioning of the market, with a view to understand the extent and the effectiveness of competition in the market(s);

• Recommendations to address issues identified at the assessment phase of the project, which will be designed to enhance competition in the sector. Recommendations will be made following a consultation process with stakeholders, including fuels providers, business users, the public and government.

“An assessment of the state of competition was identified as a pre-condition for OfReg to fulfill its mandate of effectively regulating the fuel sector. Effective regulations designed to enhance performance ensures competition, transparency, efficiency and innovation in the fuels market(s).”

Well. Who would have expected all that to find out why we pay so much and how all the above is going to ensure we pay a lower price for our fuel?

Mr Duke Munroe, Executive Director of Fuels at OfReg, said: “I am pleased to announce to the public that the necessary foundation work that will allow the Office to effectively regulate the fuels market(s) across the Cayman Islands is underway. We fully understand the public’s concern about the price of fuel at the pumps, and this assessment will allow us to establish the framework to balance the dynamics of the various factors that influence the fuel market and ultimately, prices at the pump. It will further allow us to identify the appropriate regulatory remedies and intervention measures needed to fix market failures where they exist.”

So the foundations will soon be laid for the people employed at OfReg to find some way to establish a framework where, hopefully, the fuel companies will be forced to cut a couple of cents off the price we pay for petrol at the pumps.

And how much has all this cost the country? How many of the staff and directors at Ofreg went to Hong Kong to finalise the deal? Maybe it was done over Skype?

Well, everybody, I hope it is all worth it, and the prices we pay for petrol will come tumbling down. I won’t tell you here my GAS how much by.

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