The Union of Fuel and Gas Companies called on the Ministry of Industry and Trade to curb the price gouging in Kabul fuel markets.
Officials at the union say rising taxes and insecurity have caused problems with fuel imports recently, and importers complain that selling one liter of petrol for 63 Afghanis in Kabul after buying it for 43 Afghanis at a border area is exploitative.
“These prices are much different but the fuel sector’s mafia is there and they don’t let the prices come down, there is no control over markets. That’s why the prices go up,” said Abdul Qahar Safi, distribution manager at Afghanistan Fuel and Gas Company.
Officials at the union of the fuel and gas companies say that soon they will intervene in fuel and gas markets to reduce prices with a first step of distributing 17,000 tons of fuel with suitable prices into the market.
According to information provided by official sources, a liter of petrol is being sold at 43 Afghanis at border crossing areas in the country, but it is being sold at up to 63 Afghanis at Kabul fuel markets.
In the last two months, fuel prices have gone up 20 Afghanis per liter. However, the union of the fuel and gas companies said the price of oil in the world markets has not increased.
“The government has no control. Businessmen import poor quality fuels. The high quality and poor quality fuels are being sold at the same prices,” said Morteza, a taxi driver in Kabul.
“In such circumstances--as the situation of the county is not good and prices are high--it is very hard for workers, craftspeople and taxi drivers to deal with the situation,” said Ahmad Shabir, a taxi driver in Kabul.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce warned of legal action.
“The Ministry of Industry and Commerce, in accordance with consumer protection law, will take serious action against those who hoard essential goods, especially fuels, to sell them at a high price. After identifying them and warning them, their licenses will be canceled, and they will be referred to the relevant judicial entities,” said Fawad Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Officials at the Fuel and Gas Companies Union confirm that a portion of imported fuel and gas is being smuggled into the markets.
“Afghanistan's ports were not controlled properly before, oil was smuggled. But now, considering the security situation, most ports of the country are under the control of the enemy. Now there is no control at all,” said Hasib Rahimi, head of the Union of Fuel and Gas Companies.