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Ministry’s lax oversight leads to fuel trading irregularities: Inspectorate

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s lax oversight has led to irregularities in fuel trading, including the misappropriation of the fuel price stabilization fund and violations in fuel trading licensing and fuel reserves.

At a meeting on January 4, the Government Inspectorate presented its findings from a fuel trading inspection, shedding light on numerous violations involving the Ministry of Industry and Trade and several major fuel trading firms.

Over a span of five years, the ministry issued 37 licenses for fuel export and import, as well as 347 licenses for fuel suppliers. Some of these fuel suppliers failed to establish an effective distribution system after obtaining licenses, causing fuel supply disruptions.

“The ministry failed to promptly detect violations related to maintaining warehouse conditions, storage tanks, and distribution systems,” the Government Inspectorate said.

From 2017 to September 2022, certain fuel suppliers violated regulations by distributing 829,000 cubic meters of fuel inappropriately to take advantage of differential pricing. This had negative repercussions, impacting commissions for retail agents and outlets.

Some fuel traders neglected their responsibility to ensure a stable fuel supply source, leading to interruptions in gasoline supply in 2022.

The ministry’s management of the fuel price stabilization fund also came under scrutiny. Some businesses were able to misappropriate funds from this source due to poor management.

Between January 1, 2017 and April 23, 2018, unclear directives from the Ministries of Industry-Trade and Finance led 19 major businesses to allocate VND1,013 trillion incorrectly from the fuel price stabilization fund, with nearly VND680 billion being misused from the fund.

The fuel price stabilization fund, designed for addressing urgent situations with significant price increases, was repeatedly used by both ministries over an extended period, leading to multiple shortcomings.

In addition, the State Bank of Vietnam did not provide clear guidelines for commercial banks on managing the fund, resulting in seven businesses misusing funds worth over VND7,927 billion.

Given these deficiencies and violations, the Government Inspectorate has recommended that the Prime Minister take action and enforce disciplinary measures against relevant entities and individuals within the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance.

The inspectorate has also forwarded documentation to the Ministry of Public Security to consider and address violations related to the use of the fuel price stabilization fund and the declaration of environmental protection taxes at three companies: Thien Minh Duc Group, Xuyen Viet Oil, and Hai Ha Waterway Transport Company.

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