Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev helds talks at the Cabinet office on November 15 with representatives of the Bulgarian Petroleum and Gas Association on proposals to reduce fuel prices.
The talks were held against a background of days of protests over “high fuel prices”, with the organisers of the protesters seeking the resignation of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government. The protests have caused major traffic disruptions as participants used their cars to obstruct motorways and key city thoroughfares.
The association’s representatives said that the recent reduction in the price of fuel was not the result of the protests, but reflected trends on world oil markets.
This message was the same as the one conveyed by Borissov in a television interview earlier the same morning. Borissov said that he hoped that after prices fell, the protests would stop.
The representatives presented an analysis of the market, as well as proposals to stabilise it, but these have to be agreed with all the members of the association before being presented, reports after the meeting said..
Some of the measures envisaged would require legislative changes, meaning that any effect would hardly be a matter of days.
One of the ideas that the Bulgarian government has put forth envisages receipts showing a detailed breakdown of VAT, excise and the mark-up in the price per litre of fuel.
The chairman of the Bulgarian Petroleum and Gas Association, Andrei Delchev, said that no one should have the wrong impression that within the association an agreement was made and that it would have an immediate impact on prices.
“Nothing like that will happen, each company is independent in its trade policy,” Delchev said.
He said that the association would comment later on the idea of providing a breakdown of components of the price of fuel on receipts.
Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) said on November 6 that it was starting a sector analysis of the petrol and diesel fuel market, its third in seven years, to ascertain whether recent price hikes were due entirely to market reasons.
The CPC followed this up on November 14 by saying that in parallel with this analysis, it was also checking whether there had been compliance with commitments undertaken in March 2017 by large companies not to exchange information and to fire staff who do not respect the requirement of confidentiality of commercial information.
Contacts between employees of the different companies are forbidden, as is discussing commercial information within the Bulgarian Petroleum and Gas Association. However, the CPC said that it had been receiving information about violations of these undertakings by individuals and legal entities.
The CPC said that the firms covered by the check-up it announced on November 14 were Lukoil Bulgaria, Eko Bulgaria, Shell Bulgaria, OMV Bulgaria, NIS Petrol Ltd and Petrol Ltd.
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