HA NOI — Petrol importers must take responsibility for ensuring product quality to the point when it reached consumers, said deputy minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa.
|Consumers buy petrol in Ha Noi. Petrol importers must take responsibility for ensuring product quality, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
At a meeting with petrol importers to discuss methods to enhance petrol quality on Thursday, Thoa said that the ministry would work with relevant ministries to scrutinise current policies and regulations on petrol trading to force importers and retail agents to take more responsibility for petrol quality.
The meeting was held because the public recently raised concerns about petrol quality and assumed that low quality petroleum had been the major cause of the recent spate of vehicle fires in the country. Industry insiders, meanwhile, attributed the low quality petroleum to neglect on the part of the petrol importers in supervising sales at their retail agents.
Thoa said the ministry would establish teams to inspect the importers. In the event a violation was discovered, administrative measures would be taken and the ministry would also reveal the names of the violators in the mass media.
Petrol importers must closely scrutinise all phases of their business, from import and storage to transportation of the products from storage to retail agents, Thoa said.
Importers must closely co-ordinate with relevant bodies to deal with violations, she said.
During the meeting, deputy general director of Petrolimex Nguyen Quang Kien affirmed that petrol products sold by most importers and their sales agents met standards while the quality sold by some agents, mainly private firms, could be low.
It was necessary to strictly supervise sales agents, especially those of private firms, Kien said.
The country currently has more than 13,000 petrol retail sales agents, 25-30 per cent of which are owned by petrol importers. The remainder belong to private firms.
Sai Gon Petro Co recommended that relevant ministries and agencies should more closely supervise the sale of chemicals as several petrol sales agents have been mixing chemical additives to petrol to earn bigger profits.
Petrol sales agents have said that with the high interest rates, most of them were facing difficulties with the low VND600 (US$0.029) commission per litre they earned as regulated by the Ministry of Finance. The commission did not cover manufacturing and overhead costs, they said.
A representative from Petec Co said that the Government should raise the commission to at least VND8,500-9,000 per litre to keep petrol sales agents from suffering losses. — VNS