Source: Vientiane Times
Residents of Vientiane are concerned about another fuel shortage with several petrol stations in the city being closed since Monday.
However, the concerned sectors have issued reassurances that fuel will soon be available in sufficient quantities to meet daily demands.
The government is holding talks with the Lao Fuel and Gas Association over the possibility of importing another shipment of fuel, as it is expected that current stocks will be depleted by the end of this month, a senior member of the Association said.
It is hoped that fuel imports will resume and the process will be eased by lifting some of the controls placed on fuel importing companies, he added.
The government has agreed with the Association and companies responsible for fuel supply on the need to take steps to ensure a reliable supply of fuel in the future.
The fuel shortage has occurred at a time when the government is taking drastic measures to stabilise the macro economy, including replacing the head of the central bank and cracking down on illegal currency traders.
These steps have prevented the kip from dropping further in value, but inflation and high prices remain an issue of public concern.
Comments posted on Facebook show that some people are wondering if the government’s stopgap line of credit, provided to the Lao State Fuel Enterprise in late June, has already run dry.
The Ministry of Finance announced the line of credit during the last National Assembly session in June, saying this would guarantee a supply of fuel through June, July and August.
The future remains uncertain, but renewed fuel shortages are certain to place an even greater strain on a population already struggling to cope with an outbreak of dengue fever and a rise in the number of Covid cases.
Fuel shortages forced petrol stations in Vientiane and some provinces to close in May, forcing desperate motorists to drive from one petrol station to another in the hope of filling up their tanks.
Lao authorities are also attempting to rein in the spiralling price of fuel, which is driving up the cost of living alongside rising inflation and widespread price increases.
The government has tried to lower transport costs by reducing the fees paid to the road maintenance fund, as well as lowering taxes and other fees paid by businesses, in order to keep prices from escalating further, a ministry official said.