Gas industry transparency in Vietnam
HANOI, Viet Nam News/Aisa News NetworkTrade fraud is an increasing problem for Vietnam's gas industry, said Tran Trong Huu, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Gas Association, at an online discussion in Ha Noi last week. Market watch teams dealt with 400 gas trading violations in the first eight months of the year, confiscating over 15,000 gas tanks and collecting penalties that totaled 2 billion dong (US$95,200). Many enterprises used fake gas tanks to pump gas themselves from remote areas, said Do Thanh Lam, deputy head of the ministry's Market Management Department.
September 23, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Huu said that authorities were too lax in granting licences to gas businesses. Vietnam has 23 businesses importing and distributing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), according to Nguyen Loc An, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Domestic Market Department.
Monopoly is another pervasive problem for the gas industry. Last year, about 150 households in Ha Noi complained to the Vietnam Consumer Protection Association (Vinastas) that the Red River Petroleum Company had cut their gas supply because of a dispute over the price increase and would not allow other firms to supply them with gas. Nguyen Manh Hung, vice chairman and general secretary of Vinastas, singled out PVGas — which holds 70 percent of the gas market — as another potential concern.
During the discussion, participants also voiced worries over the surge of gas prices in the past few months. Retail gas prices recently rose 4,250 dong (US$0.2) per kilo due to the world increase. Since the beginning of the year, the price has risen by 77,000 dong (US$3.6) per tank. Consumers should be quickly and accurately informed about such changes, Hung said, since the gas price was an important factor in their cost of living.
Nguyen Minh Phong, head of the Ha Noi Institute for Socio-Economic Development's Economic Research Division, said the Government should prevent businesses from controlling gas prices by requiring agencies to sell gas at list price. Lam proposed revoking the business licenses of firms that violated LPG trading regulations. Last year, the country's total gas consumption was 1.24 million metric tons. Industrial and transport units accounted for around 35 percent of gas consumption while commercial units and households consumed 65 percent.