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Draft decree on gas trading causes argument

Update: March, 23/2017 - 10:00
A gas shop in HCM City’s Trường Chinh Street. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The draft decree to replace Decree No 19/2016/NĐ-CP on gas trading has stirred controversy among gas traders, heard attendants at a conference held in Hà Nội on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) built the draft decree to fix shortcomings of the current decree which has been said to cause difficulties for businesses.

Recently, several gas traders have complained that the decree’s regulations stipulating that gas companies have storage tanks and total LPG bottle capacities of at least 2.62 million litres were hard to fulfill, especially for those in remote and mountainous areas with low population density.

Therefore, they asked for a review and amendment of the rules to facilitate trading, as each gas company would have to invest VNĐ25-30 billion (US$1.1-1.3 million) in the gas tank system when applying for a business licence.

Hà Thanh Tùng, director of the Đông Tùng Gas Company in the northern mountainous province of Hà Giang said that the number of companies operating in the province’s gas sector was reduced from 45 in 2016 to 30 in 2017.

“If the ministry does not make a timely amendment to and revision of the decree’s shortcomings, the number of gas traders will continue to reduce,” Tùng added.

Trần Trọng Hữu, general secretary of the Việt Nam Gas Association, agreed that the current regulations on gas trading have seen an overlapping with those relating to business conditions and fire safety. These have caused difficulties for both traders and market watch departments.

“However, the ministry should carefully consider policy changes, as the decree has been promulgated for less than a year,” he said, adding that firms need stable policies.

The ministry’s draft aims to remove some conditions and has received supports from small-and-medium sized enterprises.

However, big scale traders who built facilities for gas tank and stations disagreed with the revisions.

Nguyễn Minh Châu, general director of EPIC Petroleum Company in the central Nghệ An Province, said the removal of the conditions such as warehouses and gas stations cannot prevent the disorder in the market. The illegal gas extraction and filling have been seen in different areas, thus affecting consumer safety due to risks of fire and explosion.

MoIT’s representative said the ministry would collect the opinions and will consider adjusting the draft to ensure benefits to businesses.

The decree was promulgated on March 22, 2016, replacing Decree No 107/2009/NĐ-CP on November 26, 2009, on gas trading to facilitate gas companies. — VNS

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