Under-deliberation prices of gasoline, electricity should not be State secrets: VCCI

The prices of gasoline and electricity while under deliberation by authorities need to be removed from the list of State secrets, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

The VCCI sent its feedback to the Ministry of Industry and Trade on a prime-ministerial decision draft on the list of State secrets for industry and trade.

The VCCI stated that gasoline and electricity prices are crucial input parameters for businesses to devise their production and business plans. Therefore, many businesses need to know about price adjustments by the State as soon as possible.

“There used to be a phenomenon before every upward adjustment, where a number of gas stations cited technical reasons to suspend their sales of gasoline in anticipation of a price hike, affecting the supply for residents and businesses,” stated the VCCI.

The VCCI added that thanks to the inspection and efforts of State agencies and wholesale fuel traders, the situation has been greatly mitigated and has seen no recurrence in the past few years.

The VCCI noted that the current system for revising gasoline prices and their price calculation method are stipulated in the Government’s Decree 83/2014 on the oil and gas business. Based on these rules, it is relatively easy to predict the timeline for price adjustments and pricing levels.

Prior to each price adjustment, some newspapers provide very accurate forecasts of gasoline price plans, based on public input parameters of the international market. “In fact, these forecasts do not have a significant impact on normal gasoline trading activities on the (local) market,” VCCI stressed. Therefore, any deliberation by ministries on gas price calculations should not be treated as a State secret.

Regarding electricity, the VCCI pointed out that due to the characteristics of simultaneous production and consumption, the speculative risk of this item is very low.

The chamber indicated that it may merely be a phenomenon of increasing electricity usage before each price increase, which can affect the transmission capacity of the line system.

However, this risk is not high and is easily handled through technical and operational measures. For example, authorities could adjust prices when the load capacity is low.

Having taken these factors into account, the VCCI urged the ministry to re-evaluate the negative and positive effects of keeping calculations on the gasoline and electricity prices confidential.


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