Govt 'too slow' to tackle fuel prices

Govt 'too slow' to tackle fuel prices

The government is making slow progress in bringing down high fuel prices, says Kla Party leader Korn Chatikavanij. More serious problems will follow unless the fuel price crisis is addressed soon, he said on Monday.

In a post on his Facebook page, Mr Korn said two months have passed and no headway has been made in the government's effort to tackle fuel prices.

He said four major refinery companies -- Thai Oil, Esso, Star Petroleum Refining (SPRC) and Bangchak Corporation (BCP) -- made sharp increases in profits in the second quarter compared to the same period last year.

Their accumulated profits in the second quarter dating back to 2018 were barely half this year's figures, he said. These numbers showed profits and refining margins were related even though refineries said otherwise, he said.

Unusual increases in profits had come at the expense of the general public and other businesses bearing the heavy brunt of the fuel price crisis. He said refining margins were the main reason pump prices were higher than they should be and why consumers were required to pay the debts incurred by the Oil Fuel Fund which was used to subsidise the price of diesel.

Two oil traders -- PTTOR and PTG -- also had impressive operating results and their profits were from marketing fees, he said.

The marketing fee was about three baht per litre, which was higher than usual, he said. "But I don't see this bothering the Energy Ministry. The double profits that these giants made tell us whose side the minister and the government are on. The profits are generated on the back of people's suffering," he said.

Mr Korn said the fuel price crisis affected inflation and prompted the Bank of Thailand to raise the policy rate to 0.75%. Higher interest rates would cause a bigger burden to borrowers whether they were individuals or businesses, particularly SMEs.

"This is the first time-bomb the government must defuse or it will trigger a chain reaction," he said.


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