Herat residents complain of soaring fuel prices
HERAT CITY (PAN): Residents of western Herat province complain about increasing prices of fuel, although the province borders two oil-exporting countries: Iran and Turkmenistan
Currently, a litre of petrol sells for 62 afghanis and the same amount of diesel for 55afs, record high prices in the past one decade.
Hafizullah, a resident of the 3rd police district, told Pajhwok Afghan News fuel prices, especially of petrol, had considerably increased during the past two months.
"In late May, one litre of petrol accounted for 52afs, but now its rate is 62afs." He blamed the government for lacking a mechanism to monitor prices of petroleum products.
"I always listen to the radio. The rate of fuel is much higher in Herat, compared to other provinces," Hafizullah added.
Another citizen, Farid Ahmad, said transport fares had gone up in the city due to soaring fuel prices.
Najibullah Yousafi, a fuel dealer and pump station owners' association chief, also assailed the government's inability to control prices of petroleum products. He asked the authorities to take urgent steps to address the issue.
"Fuel prices have jumped in the international market, but not as much as they have in Afghanistan. Traders importing fuel from Iran and Turkmenistan have to suffer losses due to transportation and other problems," he said.
Importing fuel from Turkmenistan is cheaper than from Iran. Tehran stopped exporting oil to Turkmenistan eight months, he pointed out.
Yousafi said that currently 95 percent of diesel was imported to Herat and neighbouring provinces from Iran, and the same amount of petrol from Turkmenistan.
However, Ahmad Khusra Abdullah, Herat's fuel director, said there was no problem in importing oil from Iran and Turkmenistan. He linked the increasing prices to international market trends, saying they could not control the rates in a free market economy.
Iran would supply Afghanistan 3,000 tonnes of fuel under an agreement with the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, he continued. However, he did not say when the fuel would be supplied.
The daily consumption of fuel in Herat is estimated at 400 tonnes of petrol and 600 to 700 tonnes of diesel.
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