The Ministry of Finance threatened gas station attendants with price controls. He doesn’t like too high margins. Two weeks ago, the office said everything was fine. What changed? How will the government help those at risk of inflation? And when will the ODS choose a presidential candidate?
Hostem I ask was Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura (ODS)
As an extraordinary measure, the state could cap fuel retailer margins starting in early May, and the Department of Finance will prepare a price assessment. The finance minister said on Thursday that the government wanted to give dealers time to adjust margins themselves. At the end of March, Stanjura asserted that there was no need to regulate prices at the pump.
On Friday, the Ministry of Finance also released a new estimate of economic growth. According to him, growth this year will drop from 3.1% in January to 1.2% and inflation will increase. While economists threaten up to 15%, the seaside resort of Stanjur is counting on 12.3%.
According to the minister, the estimates will also serve as the basis for this year’s budget amendment. The office plans to submit it to the government at the end of June at the earliest due to expenses related to the effects of the conflict in Ukraine.
What will fuel margin regulation look like and is the state budget prepared for the effects of high inflation? How much will the national debt get worse this year?
You can read the whole conversation in the audio player, in your favorite podcast app, or in the video.
What was said in the interview?
1:00 – We presented the evolution of the margins and marked the day when we announced that we would control these margins. The reaction was that the margins went down like that. We received the data from February 17 to March 15, and now that I have received the results of the six-week survey, where prices are already fully reflected, it turns out that the average margin is eighty – ten crowns for diesel and ten crowns for petrol. I think it’s too much right now. It simply cannot be so.
2:00 – I told gas station operators that the state didn’t want them doing business at a loss, they didn’t even want them at zero. But when prices are so high, margins shouldn’t be so high.
3:20 – We would address the issue of reducing excise duties without Russian aggression in Ukraine. It is a partially harmonized tax. At a time when neighboring countries are at a minimum, this is a competitive disadvantage for our carriers, especially in border regions. For diesel, this can also be a permanent measure.
4:10 – Every tax is a global measure. We have also proposed a reduction in road tax. This is a long-term policy of the ODS. The road tax is administratively very demanding. This is how we cancel the agenda and we can also cancel jobs. The same is true for property tax.
6:00 – In the tax area, we were under pressure from tax changes in neighboring states. I talked about it with my finance minister colleagues on Monday, Tuesday, and everyone warned of the domino effect, and those who have already cut taxes have said so.
7:00 That’s why we’re doing the checks so the state doesn’t want to be relieved and someone else gets the money. We decided yesterday to monitor margins throughout the chain from refineries, distributors to gas stations to ensure that the change in taxes is fully reflected in totem prices.
7:33 – I won’t tell you how we regulate margins. The mathematical formula for acreage price has about three lines. It’s controversial, I’m not happy with it, and there’s always a chance we won’t introduce it. By the time the price of oil has stabilized, it is clear that the base price is going up, but I see no reason for the average margin to go up.
9:01 – If we introduce margin regulation, then it will be an absolute amount. Value of the crown. The eligible costs are assessed there. Others will be at the service station at D1 and others somewhere on the 3rd class road. The surcharge will be the same everywhere, the basis will be different.
9:48 – I guess the amount of the surcharge, but I won’t tell him. It will be clear at the end of April.
10:45 – I wouldn’t want a minister telling me what to do. But I would advise everyone to behave normally, not to refuel. No one will guarantee you today if the price will not drop. I find it useless to refuel in cans.
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