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Ministries join to fight gas fraud, speculation

Update: February, 08/2012 - 10:08

HA NOI — With unexpected fluctuations in gas prices, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has been co-ordinating with the Ministry of Finance to prevent fraud and speculation among importers and distributors.

Over the past month, gas prices have increased three times by VND74,000 to about VND440,000 (US$21) per 12kg-canister. The price rose by 40 per cent within one year.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Nam Hai said at a press conference on Monday that gas was listed among commodities in need of stabilisation and gas companies had to register prices with the Ministry of Finance, however the price is still adjusted by the market.

According to Nguyen Tien Thoa, director of the Ministry of Finance's Price Management Department, gas companies have been registering to raise prices since February 1. He attributed the rising local market price to the price hike in the global market. The import price has gone up by 15 per cent since January.

"The MoIT takes responsibility for managing the system of gas distribution. If we discover any speculation for profit, the ministry will strictly enforce Decree 105, dealing with administrative violation in gas trading, which came into effect on January 1 of this year," said Hai.

Vo Van Quyen, director of the finance ministry's Domestic Market Department affirmed that the investigation was usually done by the authorities and in response to the skyrocketing price of gas recently, the authorities have been inspecting and the ministry would report any results to the mass media.

The local media has recently discovered oil frauds with distributors who mixed oil with addictive substances, resulting in the poor quality of petrol products. Hai said that the ministry, in addition to relevant State bodies, would inspect and deal with cases in criminal proceedings.

Particularly, the HCM City People's Committee has withdrawn licences of nine petrol retailers and may withdraw two more. — VNS

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