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    Dealers manipulate fuel prices in Kabul

    KABUL(PAN): Dealers in Kabul are manipulating the fuel price, keeping it artifically high while it falls in other parts of the country, an official said.

    A 6.8 percent decrease has been noticed in fuel prices in Kabul over the past one month despite a 12.2 percent decline in its rates at the Heratan port, fuel department head at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ahmad Farid, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    Fuel prices rose in the country after Iran blocked hundreds of Afghanistan-bound fuel tankers to cross its borders into the landlocked country. However, the rates fell after Afghanistan approached other countries, including Russia, to let it buy fuel.

    Iranalso lifted the nearly two-month long ban releasing all the stranded vehicles, sending the fuel prices further lower.

    Farid said that Saturday's rate of one tonne of diesel at the Heratan port was $1,240 and that of petrol $1215.

    A month back, a litre of diesel was sold for 60 afghanis in Kabul and the same of amount of petrol for 56 afghanis. Their Saturday's rates were respectively 55 and 53 afghanis.

    Farid accused fuel dealers in Kabul of taking disadvantage of the open marker, where government did not control prices.

    However, he said they would approach the president to give them the right of controlling prices at the open market. The issue would be taken up with the president after being discussed with the Ministry of Economy, he added.

    "When government said it would import fuel, we expected a convincing reduction in its price, but it did not happen as expected," a Kabul resident, Abdul Hamid Myakhel, said. He asked the government to make efforts at reducing the high fuel prices.

    But head of a fuel importing company, Abdul Ghafar Dawi, linked fewer decline in fuel prices to high transportation costs.

    A month back, he said, the import of one tonne of fuel cost $35, but now the cost had increased to $70. Another reason, he said, was increasing demand of Kabul residents.

    frm/ma



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