Government to meet on price of subsidized Premium fuel
Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman
The Jakarta Post
Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said on Thursday the government would soon hold a meeting to decide on whether it will increase the price of the subsidized Premium-branded gasoline after the issue sparked controversy on Wednesday.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan announced the price increase of Premium gasoline starting on Wednesday, but less than an hour later, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno withdrew the announcement, arguing that Pertamina was not ready.
“I do not need to say the exact date. But, it will be implemented in the near future,” said Darmin when attending the signing ceremony of 19 project agreements worth US$13.5 billion between 14 state-owned enterprises and investors in Nusa Dua, Bali.
Damin declined to confirm that the government had already decided to increase the fuel price.
The Premium price is lower than the market price because, together with Biosolar branded diesel, it is subsidized by state-owned energy holding company Pertamina through public obligation service (PSO) scheme. In the past the subsidy came from the state budget.
Pertamina president director Nicke Widyawati said on Thursday that steps needed to be taken before the government would announce the fuel price increase because unlike non-subsidized fuels, the government had assigned Pertamina to distribute the specific fuel.
She also declined to speculate on whether the government would increase the Premium price, arguing that the price was a matter for the government as regulator.
“We just follow the decision. If the government does increase the price, we will implement it,” he added. (bbn)
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