HA NOI — Petrol supplies must be assured in both reserve and type regardless of circumstance or great difficulty, according to the Government's direction.
"Any enterprises which don't conform to the regulation must face the responsibility. We will take drastic measures to assure this as we are resolved to deal with violating parties," Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu said at a meeting with key petrol enterprises on Monday.
Tu announced that the Viet Nam National Shipping Lines Co (Vinalines) would be fined for having made an insignificant contribution as it neither imported nor bought petrol from the Dung Quat oil refinery in the first two months of this year and for many months last year.
The ministry would withdraw the rights and quota allocated to the company for importing gasoline and 0.05S diesel to be supplied to the Vietnamese market, permitting it to import only 0.25S diesel and fuel oil with specific quotas to serve its shipping operation.
The withdrawn quota would be assigned for some other companies to assure general supplies.
The ministry would also ask the General Department of Customs to supervise Vinalines and will make future decision depending on its performance during the remainder of the year, he said.
According to the ministry's department of imports and exports, the total petrol import volume of key enterprises in the first two months declined sharply by 44 per cent over the same period last year and reached only 10 per cent of the total quota for this year. The situation was due to difficult business conditions and lower consumption.
Specifically, gasoline dropped 15 per cent, diesel fell by 57 per cent, and mazut was down 62 per cent.
Volumes purchased from the Dung Quat oil refinery over the past two months increased 17.6 per cent year-on-year.
The department's deputy director Luong Anh Quynh said that despite the sharp decrease, total supplies could still meet local demand during the period due to slowed domestic production, lower domestic petrol prices, authorities' efforts to prevent illegal petrol export through borders, and significant inventory levels.
On March 1, the stock of gasoline and diesel increased 31 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively, over the same period last year.
Tu said the domestic petrol market was expected to see even more challenges as world petrol prices were showing a clear uptrend, driven by disadvantageous global factors.
Enterprises must be prepared for an extremely hard time with forecasts anticipating world petrol prices reaching as high as US$200 per barrel by the end of this year, he warned.
At present, he said, measures to stabilise prices reached their limit, especially when price stabilisation funds were exhausted and dipped into negative numbers at certain companies. The only possible solution by raising petrol prices was under heavy pressure from the market.
No solutions had been decided on for management affair problems, such as importers' losses, commissions for dealers or foreign exchanges for petrol import, he added.
While noting the importance of assuring import sources in the coming time, Tu said the ministry would direct market management forces to closely inspect petrol retailing systems and treat violation cases publicly.
"Tightened control of agents' retailing systems will affect key enterprises, thus they need to select qualified and prestigious agents," he added. — VNS