Petrol and diesel prices hiked

The state-owned wholesaler has hiked oil prices by 30 laari per litre of petrol and 20 laari per litre of diesel with effect from Wednesday.

The changes were prompted by price increases in the global market, the State Trading Organisation said. The prices of crude oil presently stand at US$48.6 per barrel, up from US$46 at the end of June.

After the STO’s price hikes, the prices of a litre of diesel and petrol has risen to MVR8.64 (50 cents) and MVR8.95 (60 cents) respectively. Last month, STO reportedly increased the price of diesel and petrol sold to third party suppliers by 43 laari and 26 laari per litre respectively.

The price hikes come after reductions in June when the government slashed import duty for petroleum products from 10 to five percent.

Higher electricity charges were identified by lawmakers as a reason behind the ruling coalition’s heavy losses in the May 6 local council elections.

STO had also reduced the price of petrol and diesel ahead of the municipal polls.

The state-owned behemoth’s subsidiary, Fuel Supply Maldives, is the main importer of petroleum products to the country.

In late April, STO also reduced the price of rice and sugar prices by 15 percent and wheat flour by 12 percent.

The price of a litre of petrol was reduced by 20 laari and a litre of diesel was reduced by 10 laari, prompting the state-owned utility companies to reduce electricity charges.

The State Electric Company, which provides electricity in the Malé region, and Fenaka, the main service provider in the atolls, subsequently reduced the fuel surcharge, which is imposed if the price of diesel exceeds a base rate set by the energy authority.

The base rate for the Greater Malé region is MVR8 per litre and the rate for the atolls is MVR8.10.

About 30 percent of the Maldives’ GDP is spent on importing fossil fuels. More than MVR3.5 billion (US$227 million) worth of fuel was imported in 2016, according to customs statistics.

Electricity bills for households in the Greater Malé region increased by more than 20 percent in March last year after the government revised tariff rates and discontinued subsidies. In the rest of the country, bills increased by up to 45 percent on some islands.

Cutting electricity subsidies for businesses in 2015 also sparked protests on several islands after bills at shops and restaurants doubled and even tripled in some cases.

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