Economy chief has no definite answer to high fuel prices

Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong has no solution to the issue of soaring fuel prices but insists that “we need to do the math.”

His comment was made during a recent parliamentary session, in response to lawmakers Nick Lei’s and Ella Lei’s questions.

Nick Lei said fuel prices often, if not always, rise. Among the five brands selling the commodity in Macau, four had maintained a “tacit congruence” between their prices. He queried whether this was a reasonable phenomenon.

Furthermore, global petroleum prices have consistently fallen since July this year, but there had been no notable decrease in prices for vehicle fuel or fuel for other uses. Lei said, despite the city adopting a free market economy, the government is responsible for supervising and even controlling commodity prices with low replenishment rates.

Ella Lei questioned the effectiveness of the work of the Consumer Council in requesting price structures from sellers, assuming that had even been done. The Consumer Rights Protection Law grants the council the right to make such requests.

Ella Lei said the worst part is that the council of the Economic and Technological Development Bureau (DSEDT) has no apparatus to implement measures or policies to combat the situation.

She questioned how officials would improve the current condition with literally no tool in hand.

In response, the senior official only said new terms and conditions will be added to land lease contracts concerning new gas stations. The aim is to require sellers to provide options, such as gas products of lower octane levels.

The senior official, nonetheless, warned that sellers will determine whether new products will be profitable for they will incur auxiliary costs. AL

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