|Transportation at the northern province of Lang Son's Tan Thanh Border Gate. Domestic fuel prices were cut yesterday for the ninth time this year but transport charges remain the same. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
HA NOI (VNS)— Domestic petrol prices were cut yesterday for the ninth time this year, in the wake of falling global fuel prices.
However, there is no change in the prices of consumer goods and services, including transport fees.
Following a joint decision issued by the ministries of industry and trade, and finance, petrol and oil retailers yesterday reduced the prices of RON 92 and RON 95 gasoline by VND950 to VND21,390 and VND21,990 per litre respectively.
The price of 0.05S and 0.25S diesel varieties was also cut by VND520 to stand at VND19,240 per litre. The kerosene price was slashed by VND360 per litre to VND20,140, while that of mazut was reduced by VND900 to VND16,230 per litre.
The ministries also increased the petroleum stabilisation fund subsidy level by VND300 to touch VND600 per litre.
The domestic petroleum product prices have been adjusted 19 times this year, including five petrol price hikes totalling VND1,430 and nine petrol price reductions totalling VND4,250, as well as seven price adjustments of other petroleum products.
On Thursday, the finance ministry instructed the relevant agencies to inspect the service charges of transport enterprises, as their transport fees have remained unchanged despite the sharp cuts in petrol and oil prices this year.
According to the ministry, the transport costs and consumer goods prices that are directly affected by fuel prices have not been adjusted in accordance with the fuel price fluctuations.
The ministry asked the transport ministry and the People's Committees in all cities and provinces to instruct transport enterprises to strictly follow the regulations on managing and listing transport fares and costs.
The authorities must also direct transport enterprises, especially those which increased their fees during the fuel price hikes this year, to recalculate and reduce them in accordance with the fuel costs. It is estimated that fuel costs account for roughly 40 to 45 per cent of the transport fees.
When petrol prices were raised this year, several transport companies joined the producers and suppliers of consumer goods in increasing their prices to offset the petrol price increase.
Vu Vinh Phu, chairman of the Ha Noi Supermarkets Association, said that the petrol and oil price reductions would immediately impact on transport fees, which would, in turn, impact on the prices of consumer goods.
He noted that consumers were at a disadvantage now as transport fees and the prices of consumer goods remained unchanged.
However, transport companies gave various reasons for not reducing their prices.
Representatives from the Viet Nam Automobile Transportation Association said that while petroleum and oil prices had fallen sharply this year, the cut each time was only a small percentage. So the transport companies were finding it difficult to immediately cut prices.
They said that the transport companies increased their fees when petrol and oil prices rose by five per cent, so the reduction was often the same. However, the reduction in petrol and oil prices this year was only roughly one to two per cent each time.
Besides, the association said, after an increase or decrease in petrol and oil prices, transport companies needed more time to make the calculations that will serve as the basis for transport fee adjustments.
Taxi and passenger transport companies would also find it difficult to make any adjustments as they would have to reprint tickets, adjust taxi metres and seek tax agencies' approval, they pointed out, adding that the companies can adjust prices if the petrol and oil price decrease or increase lasts for a long time.
Since transport companies are maintaining their prices, the producers and suppliers of consumer goods said that they would also maintain theirs.
Meanwhile, according to the current regulations, the relevant ministries cannot intervene, as the market mechanism is managing the prices of consumer goods and services, except for electricity, water and petrol. — VNS