Reliance wants end of state intervention in fuel prices

January 13th, 2009 - 3:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is keen to re-open its retail fuel stations but is waiting for the government to end its intervention in determining the sale price of petrol and diesel, a company official said here Tuesday.“The removal of government control of prices is very critical. We want the government to come out with a fiscal policy on pricing,” RIL president (refineries business) P. Raghavendran said at the start of a two-day seminar on Fuel Retail Industry organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI).

He said that the fuel retail market was not commercially viable when the prices could not be predicted on a month-to-month basis.

“We cannot predict the margin, cannot set the future prices and cannot predict cash flow. That is why the market capitalisation of public sectors is much less than it should be,” Raghavendran said.

“This pricing policy should be uniformly applicable to all sectors,” he added.

Raghavendran reiterated that Reliance was waiting for “the right environment”.

“It is lack of clarity that is holding us back and we will go back once the government brings out a clear policy,” he said.

Reliance had to close down its 1,433 retail outlets as it was unable to compete with the state-run oil marketing firms that were given subsidies by the government to sell the transport fuels.

S. Sundereshan, additional secretary of the petroleum and natural gas ministry, indicated that the government was keen to bring back the private sector into the retail market.

“We are hopeful that with the low prices now private sector will be able to compete on equal footing and we will have effective competition,” he said.

“If we have reasonable pricing there will be more competition and more customer care,” he added.

Indian Oil Corporation chairman Saarthak Behuria talked about level playing field for private and public sectors and reducing the entry barriers for new entrants in the market.

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