The announcement was made by the Professional Association of Liquefied Gas Wholesalers in a press release (facsimile below), following a meeting held last weekend with its various representatives at the national level. .
“During a meeting of the regional presidents of the association, the situation of professionals was examined. These risk bankruptcy in the absence of solutions to the problems facing the sector, ”we read on the press release.
Before deciding to carry out this strike, “the association contacted all the parties concerned, but no immediate solution was offered”.
“Thus, after long discussions with players in the sector, we found that it was becoming impossible to maintain the distribution of gas cylinders in the normal way. We have therefore decided to suspend on June 29 and 30 next “adds the association, noting that this period could be extended.
Remember that this association represents more than 600 distributors nationwide.
The rise in fuel prices, the main cause of the strike
Contacted by Médias24, Mohamed Benjelloun, president of the Professional Association of Liquefied Gas Wholesalers, lists the causes of this strike.
It is in fact a succession of events that have affected the sector for several months. “First of all, there was the Covid crisis. Consumption has dropped significantly, since many establishments had closed their doors for several months, especially restaurants and cafes. Therefore, sales had droppedrecalls the president of the association.
“To be able to continue their activity, many distributors have taken out loans, such as Relance or Oxygen loans. When the epidemiological situation improved, activity resumed. Suddenly, the Ukraine-Russia war intervenes, which hits the gas sector hard. The raw material is becoming increasingly scarce, and so are the carriers. Activity is down again, and prices have soared, notably those of fuel, tires, windshields and oil… In February, diesel prices began to increase twice a month, and the increases are considerable, between 50 and 60 cents. Towards the end of the current month (June, editor’s note), we will probably reach 16 DH/l”, continues Mohamed Benjelloun.
“The main reason for this strike remains rising fuel prices. Before 2016, the price of a liter of diesel was around 7 DH. Since its liberalisation, its price has not ceased to increase”, whereas distributors’ margin remains almost unchanged, since the price of the gas cylinder is set by the government.
“We may be able to keep a damaged tire for another fifteen or twenty days, for example, but we can’t do without fuel. We are no longer able to pay our suppliers, especially the fuel stations, and more and more of them refuse to supply us. »
More than 450,000 gas cylinders distributed per day nationwide
Asked about the impact of this strike, our interlocutor confided to us the dilemma of professionals in the sector: “Our goal has never been to harm the citizen, except that there we no longer have any solutions. »
“The number of gas canisters distributed per day is variable and depends on several factors, including drought and the economy. When the economy is good, consumption is up and vice versa. »
“Morocco consumes annually between 2 and 2.4 million tonnes of gas. Each ton is the equivalent of 83 gas cylinders », let us know Mohamed Benjelloun. If we do a simple calculation, Morocco consumes between 166 and 199 million bottles of gas per year, i.e. between 454,000 and 546,000 per day.
The fixing of the price of the gas cylinder at the origin of the problem?
“We held meetings with our supervisory ministry. The latest took place on April 28 with the new minister. We had promises, but it must be said that the department has no miracle solutions. This is an international situation”, recognizes the president of the association. “If the price of the gas bottle was not fixed, we could have increased its cost by 1 or 2 DH, and the problem would have been solved. »
“In addition, one of the solutions that can help the sector is the subsidy granted by the Ministry of Transport to professionals, which very few carriers in the sector have taken advantage of. To obtain this subsidy, a carrier must have a transport license for third parties, and not a transport license for own account. »
“Furthermore, this is not the first time that we have decided to go on strike. This is the third or fourth time. And generally, our strikes are scheduled in the middle of the week, Tuesday-Wednesday or Wednesday-Thursday. They never take place on Mondays and Tuesdays to avoid paralyzing distribution for four days in a row, including the weekend,” says Mohamed Benjelloun.
“However, our depots remain open to citizens. We have about 450 depots nationwide, which are located outside cities, which will cost a lot of money for consumers wishing to obtain a bottle of gas on their own from depots,” concludes our interlocutor. .