Vietnam's fuel pricing policy needs to be changed: official

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Vietnam needs to revise regulations on the pricing of fuel products to bring them in line with market trends, an official said, adding that it would take a long time.

"We are aware of problems in how fuel prices are calculated, but we plan to fix them at the same time," Nguyen Tien Thoa, head of the Price Control Department under the Ministry of Finance, told the press Thursday.

He said officials will consider shortening the period for which the average fuel price is calculated to 10 or 20 days from 30 days.

A new policy that puts a limit on how much commission fuel distributors can pay their retailers may also be introduced, he said, adding that local companies have been shelling out excessive commissions to expand market share.

Vietnam lowered gasoline and diesel prices Wednesday, a long-anticipated move following a decline in global oil prices. The price of 92-RON gasoline is cut to VND23,300 (US$1.12) per liter from 23,800.

The price cut, which came after two consecutive hikes in March and April, was met with widespread public displeasure. Many consumers and economists said the reduction was overdue and too little to make an impact.

Thoa said the average gasoline price during the 30-day period ending May 8 was VND828 per liter lower than the retail price on that day.

However, the Ministry of Finance decided to cut prices by VND500 per liter only since it was necessary to bring back import tariffs on fuel products, Thoa said. The import tax rate on gasoline and diesel is now 2 percent, compared to zero previously.

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