The director of HCM City Department of Science and Technology, Phan Minh Tan, spoke to Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) newspaper about measures to guarantee the quality of petrol
Recent inspections of petrol stations in HCM City revealed many quality-related violations. Could you tell us more about the findings?
From September to November 2011, the Department of Standards, Metrology and Quality inspected 55 petrol stations focusing on petrol quality. Problems were found in 11 of the samples.
Inspectors used portable meters to quickly measure the octane value of the samples. The HCM City People's Committee fined nine of the violating stations.
Do you think the fines were a sufficient deterrent?
The sanctions were the highest under Decree 107/2008/ND-CP. The nine stations must pay fine of VND30 million (US$1,430) each and lose their business licences for 12 months.
The decree could not be applied to last year's violations because it only came into force at the beginning of this year.
Why is petrol that fails to meet standards not treated as fake?
There are differences between fake goods and poor-quality goods. Specifically, fake goods are ones without the property of the original.
Although petrol A83 is said to be of poor quality, it is still petrol. It could never be treated as fake.
There are many organ-isations in charge of managing petrol? Do you think that the overlaps create inefficiency?
The inspections were carried out only at retail outlets. Meanwhile, wholesale petrol enterprises tend to deny any responsibility once their fuel is sold to retailers. To improve the sector, management must be tightened at every stage from imports to processing and distribution to retailers and consumers.
If wholesale petrol enterprises were made responsible for violations at petrol stations, this would help minimise violations. Consumers can only buy petrol at retail stations. They never buy from wholesalers.
For the sake of consumers, wholesale petrol enterprises must be made responsible for the quality of petrol sold in the market to prevent their retail agents from committing fraud.
How would you improve the situation?
Inspections must be carried out regularly instead of reacting after violations are found. I also called for poor-quality A83 petrol to be banned in the market and sanctions to be stricter. Business licences should be revoked permanently if violations are found.
Besides, strict regulations are needed to cover the allowed content of water, oxygen and saturated vapour in petrol. Every petrol station would be forced to use hand-held octane meters if given a licence. — VNS