|Economic expert, Dr. Nguyen Minh Phong
Thanks to the reduction of environmental protection tax amid “cooling” world gasoline prices, gasoline prices in our country have dropped sharply. However, in general, commodity prices are still high. How do you assess this situation?
Obviously, the situation of not reducing the price of essential goods to match the reduction of gasoline prices is happening. When the price of petrol went up, the prices of commodities increased, but when the price of petrol decreased, there has been stagnation.
By observation, I think there are several causes. Objectively, many goods and services are excluded from the price stabilization scope of the Government. Therefore, by market measures, competition or association to control prices and manipulate the market will dominate and create high prices as they are now.
Additionally, there is no consensus on the extent of the direct influence of gasoline prices on the structure of prices of goods and services, so there is no simultaneous decrease in prices.
Besides, I think the authorities seem to be ignoring direct price management tools. For example, for the price of transportation services, in principle, all transport service enterprises (except aviation units) must declare, register, and explain their prices.
However, in fact, in the trend of gasoline prices falling, the authorities do not force transport units to declare and re-register prices as well as explain the current price. Thus, there is a laxity in the price management tools of the State, especially the Ministry of Transport.
Finally, I think that the market lacks fair and healthy competition and consumers have not used up their powers, which are the power to refuse and negotiate the price. The Consumer Protection Association also has not raised its voice yet. These make the mechanism of social pressure, market pressure, and regulatory pressure to reduce commodity prices inadequate.
Moreover, providing the information is not complete because if the input factors are well informed, price fluctuations based on a different time commensurate with gasoline prices, society will immediately detect the unreasonableness of the price difference.
Recently, the Prime Minister sent a telegram to direct ministries, branches, and localities to strictly control the prices of goods and services to ensure discounts according to petrol and oil prices. How do you assess this action?
This is a necessary and timely action to ensure the stability of commodity prices, the lives of people as well as business activities of enterprises. However, despite the policy and promotion of the State, there is still a lack of a mechanism to concretize them into actions or even into solutions quickly and effectively.
To stabilize commodity prices and ensure that they are commensurate with the decrease in gasoline prices, what do ministries, branches, and localities need to do, sir?
Ministries, branches, and localities must actively and specifically grasp each solution and action.
First of all, it is necessary to use available legal tools. Specifically, industries and ministries managing each specific item need to declare and re-register prices, especially the price of transportation services and have explanations to prove the reasonableness of current prices. This is very important because in principle all items for sale must have a listed price.
Second, it is possible to add more mechanisms, measures, and even sanctions to put pressure on businesses to reduce prices commensurate with gasoline prices because we cannot accept the paradox that the price of petrol has just risen, which has put upward pressure on prices, but when the price of petrol is low, it is “silent” to take advantage of opportunities without policy.
Third, each locality, depending on its decentralization, should have new and creative solutions both to check and monitor the market, to increase market competition, and to increase the supply of missing items.
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Additionally, there must also have policies to support business households to reduce costs because not all commodities are associated with petroleum. There must be a monitoring mechanism to concretize each group and field, and concretize the action mechanism of each locality.
Thank you, sir!