The Petroleum Company of Jamaica Limited (PETCOM) has been given a new lease on life, provided the state enterprise can maintain and improve its profitability, grow its market share and achieve greater levels of customer loyalty and satisfaction.
In the recent past, PETCOM was among state enterprises slated for divestment, but Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Phillip Paulwell, advised the new Board of Directors that for the immediate future, the company’s management and staff can be assured of “security of tenure."
Mr. Paulwell addressed the new Board at a meeting, held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in Kingston, on March 23.
The Minister explained that the company is not a charge on the national budget and that, going forward, there are opportunities for increased profitability and product diversification.
“The Government has no immediate plans to divest the company once the country is benefiting from its existence,” he informed.
As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ),the company has been in the business of marketing a variety of petroleum products, industrial fuels and lubricants, since 1986 and currently has a service station network of 28.
Mr. Paulwell said that as a government agency, PETCOM enjoys a critical role in stabilising prices in the energy sector in the wake of the deregulation and liberalisation of the trade, and during that time the company was “heralded as the conscience of the market."
However, he observed that since then, with the emergence of the intensely competitive petroleum market and the Fair Competition Act, “PETCOM must now seek to aggressively compete for its life in a competitive marketplace."
Newly appointed Chairman of the PETCOM Board, Anthony Graham, assured the Minister that his team, while seeking to build a company that is responsive to consumer needs and become more profitable in its operations, will adapt to changes in the petroleum trade and be mindful of its responsibility.
“PETCOM is the only (petroleum) marketing company in Jamaica that is 100 per cent owned by the people of Jamaica and we take our responsibility seriously, because should there be any unforeseen development that cause the foreign company to have to disrupt the trade, we will be here to contribute to the energy security of this country,” Mr. Graham said.
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter