Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday appealed to people to calm down as gasoline prices hit another high peak, citing that global crude oil has been on surge as the Russian-Ukraine crisis threatened to disrupt global supply.
The Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Mines and Energy, which is responsible for regulating gas prices, issued on Tuesday the gasoline prices for sale from March 1 to 15, stating the gasoline price is 4,800 Riel per litre (about $1.180), while diesel at 4,500 Riel ($1.11).
The new gasoline price increased by 17 percent compared to gasoline price dated December 16.
Speaking at an inauguration ceremony of the Phnom Penh-Kampot National Road 3, Mr Hun Sen said that the gasoline price is increasing according to the international crude oil market.
“Please our people, calm down. The oil price hike is not happening in Cambodia only, it happens in every country around the world,” Mr Hun Sen said, adding Cambodia is not the oil-producing country and even in the oil-producing countries, the oil prices are surging.
Cambodian authorities make gasoline price adjustments on every 1st and 16th day of the month based on the price of crude oil in the international market.
Cambodia is not an oil producer and Cambodia buys oil from Singapore and imports from neighbouring countries, so when international oil prices rise, it affects Cambodia’s retail fuel prices, defended Penn Sovicheat, Commerce Ministry’s spokesman.
“The government has stabilised the growth by maintaining tariffs and subsidies by continuing to subsidise $4 cents per liter to prevent overpayments that could affect the livelihoods of people,” Sovicheat said.
The Ministry of Commerce and relevant institutions are closely monitoring gasoline prices, he said. “If the fuel price rises excessively, the ministry will intervene through negotiations with the private sector and address it adequately,” he assured.
Crude surged past $110 a barrel on Wednesday (Mar 2) and equities sank with investors growing increasingly fearful about the Ukraine war’s impact on global energy supplies and the economic recovery, the Channel News Asia reported on Wednesday.
Related tax reduction on gasoline, Vongsey Vissoth, permanent secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, said recently that in principle, lowering taxes on fuel is not a good option because it reduces national revenue while the state is under pressure to spend.
To prevent excessive fuel prices, the government has set a fixed tax rate to improve people’s livelihoods, Vissoth said.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.