9 May 2007 - 18:49
  • News Code: 104262
Lawmakers Urge Govt. to Define Petrol Quota, Price

TEHRAN – A member of Energy Committee of Majlis (Iran’s Parliament) here Wednesday said 160 MPs officially urged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government to make decision on gasoline quota of cars and the price of extra petrol by May 21.

Hassan Moradi told PIN the notification was to be read out in the open session of Majlis Wednesday, but it was postponed to next week as the time was over.

Representing the central city of Arak, the parliamentarian called the gasoline rationing an important issue, expressing hope the people would get enough information before the plan took effect.

The notification came at a time that the country is still grappling with mixed views on the project.

The Energy Committee has mounted an overt opposition to the state plan to ration gasoline, arguing that “it would entail negative consequences”.

“The plan, aimed at reducing the lavish subsidies that keep petrol prices low, should be put off as the technology to enforce the rationing is not ready,” the Energy Committee Head Kamal Daneshyar added.

“Based on the studies of our committee the ground is not ready to implement the rationing using smart cards, so we have to give another chance to the government,” said Daneshyar.

“We have received reports that the devices for reading the smart cards break down quickly and some pumps end up working backwards. This means that instead of pumping petrol they suck up the petrol from the vehicles.

“Therefore, until these problems are addressed, the rationing project has to be postponed until around end of September.”

Seyed Abdolmajid Shoja, a committee member, told IRNA, “Due to the negative social consequences of the plan, members of the committee are working to stop it.

“Corruption and social pressures on car owners are among the unacceptable outcomes of this initiative.”

Shoja added more than two million gasoline smart cards had not yet been issued, and 400 stations had not been equipped with POS (Point of Sale) devices.

Minister of Petroleum Seyed Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh, however, voiced his ministry’s readiness to enforce the law on gasoline rationing as of due time, May 22.

He told reporters almost all of the fuel smart cards had been distributed and just a small portion, due to the lack of car owners’ full addresses, had been left in post offices.

“Rationing is one of the main ways to reduce fuel consumption,” underlined the minister, adding the lawmakers had prescribed the strategy.

“Hence, Petroleum Ministry has put the rationing on agenda and it will stop doing the job only if another law is passed.”

The lavish consumption by Iranian drivers, encouraged by the subsidized prices that work out less than a comparable amount of mineral water, forces OPEC’s No. 2 producer to import billions of dollars of extra petrol annually.

News Code 104262

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