Petroleum minister asks for zero duty on crude oil

April 3rd, 2008 - 5:08 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Petroleum Minister Murli Deora has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to abolish the tariff on crude oil to help state-run firms tide over the crisis on account of lower selling price of transport and cooking fuels. “Just like the government scrapped import duty on edible oils, the five percent customs duty on crude oil should also be made nil,” Deora told reporters here, referring to the decision taken Monday to lower duties on a number of items.

“Oil bonds being given by the government are not enough,” said Deora, after a meeting with the prime minister late Wednesday. The petroleum ministry has also sought additional oil bonds to save state-run firms from bankruptcy.

The ministry said state-run marketing firms like Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum had already lost more than Rs.750 billion last fiscal and that their losses could double if the status quo in pricing continued.

India imports more than 70 percent of its crude oil needs and the price of over $100 a barrel in international markets - without concomitant increases in the retail prices of transport and cooking fuels - has hit oil firms hard.

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