The proposal came after nearly a dozen fuel dealers in Ho Chi Minh City were caught selling substandard gasoline last week, most of which was made from mixing A83-grade gasoline with A92 or A95 grades to produce poor-quality products.
At the beginning of the meeting, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu also suggested that domestic A83 gasoline production should be halted.
“Since [A83 gasoline] is not widely used, allowing production of this commodity will open the door for trade frauds,” Tu said.
“The Ministry of Industry and Trade has proposed to halt A83 production, but failed to receive agreement from other ministries.”
Thus, Tu urged that the country must find a final solution for this issue.
Hoang concurred, saying that the fraudulent practice of mixing different grades of gasoline to make substandard products has severely affected consumers’ rights, as well as their vehicles’ engines.
Hoang said his ministry has petitioned the prohibition of A83 gasoline production many times, but wholesaler SaigonPetro is still running a facility capable of producing 200,000 tons of A83 gasoline a year.
Hoang thus called on the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade to submit a report to the municipal People’s Committee, clarifying exactly what SaigonPetro plans to do with such a huge amount of the fuel.
“We have to make it clear why they still continue to produce A83 gasoline while the market no longer has a use for it,” Hoang said.
Hoang also declared that the responsible agencies should impose strict penalties on the fuel dealers which sell substandard products.
The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, for example, has proposed suspending violators for six months, but Hoang said the punishment can be even stricter: withdrawing their business licenses.
“The market management agencies should also strengthen their raids, and the wholesalers should keep a closer watch on their dealers to avoid trade frauds,” he urged.
For her part, Dam Thi Huyen, deputy CEO of Petrolimex, said that since low-quality A83 gasoline is still allowed to be put into circulation with other higher-grade products without strict enforcement from authorities on the distribution system, it will continue to be difficult to prevent frauds.
Huyen added that it is illogical for Vietnam to continue the production of A83 gasoline when the major fuel wholesalers no longer import the product, and most filling stations do not sell it.
“Inadequate attention and monitoring have been placed on the quality, as well as the quantity, of A83 gasoline circulated on the market,” she said.
D, head of the sales department of a fuel company, said he has stopped selling A83 gasoline due to the low demand.
“Most consumers do not choose A83 gasoline, since it is not good for the vehicle engines,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dang Vinh Sang, CEO of Saigon Petro, told Tuoi Tre that PetroVietnam Oil is also making the fuel with an even larger annual production.
“We have maintained production since there are still a small number of consumers who have a need for A83 gasoline,” Sang said.
“But if the government bans production, we will strictly follow their decree.”