NEW DELHI: As retail petrol and diesel prices spiked for the tenth consecutive day, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Kumar Surana on Wednesday said that the country needs to review taxation on petrol and diesel in order to bring down rising retail fuel prices.
“There is a need to review the taxation structure… The long-term solution before the country is to bring all petroleum products under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime,” Surana said.
More than a week after the state-owned oil firms ended a 19-day pre-Karnataka poll hiatus on revising fuel prices, petrol and diesel rates have touched record highs. Petrol and diesel prices touched new highs of `77.17 per litre and `68.34 per litre respectively in Delhi on Wednesday, while in Mumbai one litre of petrol is being sold at `84.99 per litre and diesel at `72.76 per litre. When asked whether there will be any more hike in the near future, Surana said, “In the immediate future it appears so.”
Not just Surana, industrial bodies and political parties have been urging the Central government to cut the excise duty on oil to provide some relief to consumers. The Centre levies `19.48 excise duty on a litre of petrol and `15.33 on diesel. BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday said that Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will be holding a meeting with all the oil companies on Wednesday to discuss on the issue and come out with a formula to resolve the matter in the next few days.
Surana, however, said that he was not aware of any meeting called by Oil Minister or anyone else in the government to discuss the rising prices.On the on-going issue of relooking at benchmarking domestic rates against international prices, Surana said that going back to the previous cost-plus method of calculating would be a retrograde move.
“In my opinion, benchmarking brings efficiency. After it replaced the earlier cost-plus model there has been a lot of improvement in things life energy efficiency and gross refining margins of companies,” he said.The government had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by `2 a litre.
HPCL, Mangalore Refinery merger soon
HPCL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Kumar Surana said that HPCL is keen to takeover Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals(MRPL) before the end of FY 2018-19. “Merger of MRPL with HPCL makes value and sense... we are trying if we can do it within this fiscal,” he said. He added that merger could be either through share swap or cash buyout or a combination of both and they need to look at the methodology of implementing it.