Govt halts transit of imported oil through Laos
The government has announced that three companies will no longer be able to transport imported fuel through Laos to third countries, in a bid to plug loopholes that could result in illegally imported fuel.
The government has instructed the Ministry of Finance to inform the three companies that they must stop this form of transport.
The three companies named are the LS Import-Export Trading Company, Sichanthongthip Import-Export Company, and the International Transport Company.
Meanwhile, five companies will be authorised to import fuel for consumption in Laos, according to Minister to the Prime Minister's Office and Government Spokesman, DrChaleunYiapaoher, last week.
DrChaleun was speaking to Lao media about the outcome of the government's monthly meeting held in Vientiane on January 24-25.
The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister ThonglounSisoulith and attended by other cabinet members.
Deputy Minister of Finance MrBounchomUbonpaseuth told Vientiane Times on Friday that the ban was only imposed on companies that imported fuel into Laos for further export.
“The main reason for stopping this is to address the loopholes that some companies might take advantage of in the transit shipment of oil through Laos, by illegally selling it for local consumption,” he said.
MrBounchom said the halt would make it easier for authorities to manage the oil imported into Laos.
He said the 22 companies that currently import petroleum would be reduced to only five in the near future. Only companies that comply with the country's laws and government's obligations will be permitted to continue to operate.
According to a government report, petrol must only be imported across officially recognised international border crossings. Fuel must not be brought into the country at local border crossings.
The government also instructed the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to review the number of fuel companies and report their findings.
The government stressed the need to inspect the quality of imported fuel but did not want to create obstacles or delays for those that followed the country's laws and requirements.
There is no official report on the exact quantity of oil imported for use in Laos.
I n 2013, Laos imported about 1,000 million litres of fuel. Some 45 to 50 percent of the fuel Laos imports is used in Vientiane and Vientiane province, according to the Lao Petroleum and Gas Association.
Sources who asked to remain anonymous said oil had been illegally imported into northern Laos in previous years, causing the government to lose a great deal of revenue.
In August last year, the government announced that it was ending fuel tariff exemptions in a move to close loopholes in the import of oil.
The move is part of the government's efforts to ensure that fuel imports are in line with the country's laws and to close all gaps that allow investors or project developers to take advantage of fuel tariff exemptions.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update January 30, 2017)