The Ministry of Finance on Wednesday decided to hike import tariffs on petrol products from the current zero percent to 4 percent to ensure the interests of the State, enterprises and consumers.

Deputy Minister Vu Thi Mai said to ensure the stability of domestic retail prices for petrol products, the Government had cut import taxes to zero percent, and had kept it unchanged over the last 11 months.
Speaking about the Finance Ministry's import tariff increase decision, the director of the Price Management Department Nguyen Tien Thoa said the current prices of petrol and oil were not based on all of the factors needed for making a basic price.

All import tariffs of diesel oil, mazut oil and petrol are much lower than the Government's current tax regulation of 10 percent. In particular, import taxes of mazut and diesel are 5 percent, while petrol import tariff after being raised remained at only 4 percent, according to Thoa.

The import price of petrol end-products from the Singaporean market, which is Vietnam's main fuel exporter, still stood at a stable and low level during the last time.

This means that petrol importers had made significant profits from their business, he told Tuoi Tre newspaper.

The prices of petrol products imported into Vietnam on December 22 and 23 were 113 USD per barrel. Earlier, petrol prices at all transactions in Singapore were about 108 USD or 109 USD per barrel. On average, the price of import petrol from December 16 has been 110 USD per barrel.
In addition, petrol traders have been receiving financial assistance from the petrol price stabilisation fund, which is 550 VND per litre.

Meanwhile, the domestic retail price for petrol was 20,400 VND (0.97 USD) per litre. This means that petrol traders can generate a profit of about 700 VND per litre, including the fixed profit of 300 VND a litre, as stipulated by the Ministry of Finance on the wholesalers'prime cost calculation.
According to Petrolimex, the company had gained a profit of 800 VND on every litre of A92 gasoline they sold from December 1 to December 15 when the price of petrol imported from Singapore was 111.06 USD per barrel.

In November, the company also reaped 1,000 VND a litre for gasoline.

According to market watchdogs, the finance ministry's recent changes on the petrol-pricing policies were still only aimed at protecting the interests of the State and enterprises but not consumers.
This was shown when the ministry continued to delay the cut of retail prices for petrol to help consumers ease price pressures.

A source from the Finance Ministry said the agency was preparing to make some adjustments on current regulations related to oil and gas price calculations, such as the formula for prime costs, fixed business expenses and price stabilisation funds./.