Cooking gas price rises on the way

PHUKET: The island can expect substantial rises in the price of cooking gas over the coming few weeks, after the government announced today that it had stopped subsidizing the fuel and was allowing vendors to set their own prices. So far, cooking gas prices in Phuket remain at much the same levels as before, at about 190 baht for a 12-kilo bottle, but rises can be expected when vendors begin buying new stock at unsubsidized prices. Announcing the freeing of the bottled gas market today, Surapol Suwannakul, Chief of Phuket Provincial Commercial Office, said that the Ministry of Commerce had decided that gas retailers may set their own prices until October 31 next year. After that, the Ministry will review the situation and decide whether to allow the free market to continue or to reimpose price controls. Surapol explained, “The government decided to free prices because it has been subsidizing cooking gas. The price of gas on the world market has risen significantly since domestic prices in Thailand were fixed several years ago. “The government’s Oil and Fuel Fund is now more than 18 million baht in debt, and because prices of gas in Thailand have been much lower than in neighboring countries, about 30% to 40% of all gas bottled in Thailand has been smuggled out to Laos and Cambodia.” The Ministry has ruled that gas vendors must display their prices in lettering at least 7 cm high so that customers can see the numbers easily, allowing them to compare prices in different shops. Sellers who fail to display prices face fines of up to 10,000 baht, while sellers who attempt to sell gas at prices different from those displayed, face fines of up to 100,000 baht or prison terms of up to five years, or both.

Phuket News
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