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Cyprus Internet Directory [ One step closer to fuel price ceiling ]

One step closer to fuel price ceiling

Author: 
Jacqueline Agathocleous

THE COMMERCE Ministry will soon be able to set a ceiling on the wholesale price of fuel, if a bill discussed at parliament yesterday is passed.
The bill, which initially at least, seems to have the seal of approval from almost all parliamentary parties, aims to amend current laws on oil sales in a way that will allow the Commerce Minister to set a maximum price for the wholesale price.
Until now, the minister was only allowed to set a ceiling for the retail price, which two months ago led to work stoppages by all petrol stations, who said the measure was unfair.
According to the  proposal the aim of the bill is to amend the 2004 Law for Oil Products in a way that will give the authority to the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism to issue ceiling orders in the wholesale as well as the retail market, if prices are deemed to be unjustifiably high by “international and local conditions”.
The House Commerce Committee said it aimed to draw up a report for the Plenum so the amendment could be passed into law as soon as possible.
Committee Chairman, DISY’s Lefteris Christoforou said his party would vote in favour of the measure, adding that the matter would be discussed again next week with the aim of it reaching the plenum in a fortnight.
 “We have noted the government’s failure to control market prices in recent times; not just for fuel but other basic products where there is profiteering as well as excessively high prices,” said Christoforou. “Anything that is to the consumers’ best interests, we will support it.”
He said there were various disagreements that needed to be ironed out before the law was amended, such as the oil companies’ opposition to the measure. “We will discuss all these issues next week.”
DIKO’s Angelos Votsis as well as EDEK’s George Varnava said their parties were in favour of the amendment. Varnava also repeated his party’s plea for a postponement of the two per cent increase in fuel’s consumption tax, which will be imposed next month as part of Cyprus’s EU obligations.
AKEL’s Yiannakis Gavriel said his party would examine the bill in depth before offering its official position on the matter. “Two months ago we noted a gap in the law, which can be filled with this bill,” said Gavriel.
The Green Party’s George Perdikis suggested the addition of a provision forcing the authorities to compare Cypriot fuel prices with other states, although “we feel Cypriot consumers don’t have many options, as there is an oligopoly when it comes to fuel,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry went ahead and appointed a fuel price observatory body, which started inspecting the island’s petrol stations yesterday morning.
The ministry’s officials recorded all the prices and plan to announce the cheapest and most expensive stations once the procedure is complete.
Furthermore, the Petrol Stations Association announced that stations would be reducing their prices by the end of yesterday as they were expecting a new shipment of oil at cheaper prices.
The new prices will reduce 95 octane petrol by €0.025 and 98 octane by €0.05.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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