Authorities to Discuss Methods for Addressing High Fuel Prices in Laos

Government losing money from dodgy fuel transactions.
Lao government losing money from dodgy fuel transactions (Photo: Lao Economic Daily).

Authorities in Laos have begun attempts to address high fuel prices faced by the country amid the volatile global market.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce held a meeting with relevant sectors yesterday to discuss fuel price adjustment in order to keep up with the unpredictable global oil market, Lao youth Radio reports.

Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr. Khampheng Xaysompheng, says the price of fuels have been increased numerous times this year, affecting people’s livelihoods, as well as freight, inflation, and the cost of living.

Increasing import costs have meant importers have reduced the volume of fuel imported, resulting in shortages.

This has meant petrol stations have found themselves intermittently short of fuel as trucks delivering imported fuel make the trip from Thailand only twice per month, leaving motorists queuing up at the pumps.

“The increased cost of fuel has meant some companies have had to drastically reduce their imports, resulting in a domestic fuel shortage,” said Dr. Khampheng Xaysompheng.

Minister Khampheng said that oil prices in the global market are continuing to increase, making it increasingly difficult for small nations and affecting retail fuel prices in Laos.

“The government will make every effort to find a solution to the cope with the volatility of fuel prices in order to reduce the economic and social impact,” Dr. Khampheng added.

The government of Laos has announced its most recent increase in fuel prices on 19 November, bringing the price of premium petrol in Vientiane Capital to LAK 15,010 per liter, while regular petrol rose to LAK 13,030 per liter, with the price of diesel fuel now reaching LAK 10,800 per liter.

The issue was debated during the Second Ordinary Session of the National Assembly’s Ninth Legislature in November, with members of the National Assembly saying the government should urgently address the high cost of fuel by making changes to the fuel pricing structure.

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance Bounchom Ubonpaseuth told the National Assembly that the government had lost up to up to LAK 2 trillion in revenue from fuel imports due to misrecorded transactions and corruption.

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