The government’s plan to reduce the subsidized fuel quota for Batam in Riau Islands by 30 percent by the end of this year is feared to trigger social upheaval in the province.
“Currently we are facing fuel scarcity, but by the end of the year, or around October, the situation is predicted to become worse, that’s when social upheaval is prone to taking place,” the Batam Industry and Trade Agency head, Ahmad Hijazi, told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
Currently fuel is scarce at 30 gas stations in the province’s largest city, Batam, with vehicles queuing for fuel becoming a daily sight in the city.
Ahmad said that gasoline consumption in Batam in 2010 was 14,468 kiloliters per month while diesel was 5,943 kiloliters per month. In 2011 the agency recorded that the monthly consumption increased by 11.4 percent to 16,113 kilolitres for gasoline and 42 percent to 8, 420 kilolitres for diesel.
However according to the downstream oil and gas regulator, BPH Migas, and its new regulation on regional fuel quota, Batam will only get 135,352 kilolitres of gasoline in 2012 or around 11,279 kiloliters per month, down 30 percent from 2011. As for diesel, Batam will get 74,843 kilolitres this year or around 6,237 kilolitres per month, down 26 percent from 2011.
“I have sent a letter to BPH Migas asking to adjust the subsidized fuel quota in Batam, because it remains difficult for people to switch to the non-subsidized gasoline, Pertamax, due to significant price differences,” Ahmad said.
He added that the policy to reduce the fuel quota was not appropriate considering high vehicle growth reached 14 percent this year in the area, which has automatically triggered an increase to fuel consumption. (iwa)