Fuel price fall fails to push trans­porta­tion prices down

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Fol­low­ing a de­ci­sion by the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment on 25 Au­gust, 2013, the price of gas (petrol) was uni­fied in all pub­lic and pri­vate fuel sta­tions in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion at a rate al­most half the then mar­ket rates.

The de­ci­sion also en­tailed the ban of trad­ing in any type of gas (petrol) ex­cept Beiji.

How­ever, two months on from the en­force­ment of the reg­u­la­tion, there is now a con­cern among lo­cals about the fact that this de­ci­sion has not im­pacted on pub­lic trans­porta­tion fees.

Al­though the ex­pec­ta­tion was that fuel price was among the key fac­tors de­ter­min­ing trans­porta­tion prices, taxi driv­ers ar­gue that they can­not re­duce their fares sim­ply be­cause fuel prices have gone down, as there are many other cri­te­ria.

“It is true that fuel prices have fallen, but taxi fares do not only re­flect those prices,” said Yousif Sle­man, a taxi driver in Er­bil. “Con­sumer goods are ex­pen­sive and prices are con­tin­u­ously ris­ing. More­over, the taxi busi­ness is con­stantly weak­en­ing.”

Ac­cord­ing to Sle­man, the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple now have their own pri­vate cars and no longer use taxis a lot.

“More­over, the ma­jor­ity of Min­istry of the In­te­rior em­ploy­ees who en­joy a de­cent per­ma­nent salary have pri­vate taxis, which takes away part of our busi­ness.”

Sle­man also added that al­though the Min­istry has passed a reg­u­la­tion pre­vent­ing its em­ploy­ees from work­ing as taxi driv­ers, “this reg­u­la­tion has not yet taken ef­fect.”

Han­dren Sherko, another taxi driver, who has been in this busi­ness for 14 years now, ad­mits that fares should have gone down with the de­crease in fuel prices. That they didn’t is partly be­cause of the taxi driv­ers, who kept the prices high, and partly the fault of the gov­ern­ment for not en­forc­ing stan­dard­ized fares.

“It is true that gov­ern­ment has re­duced fuel prices, but it also al­lows huge num­bers of ve­hi­cles and taxis to be im­ported into this re­gion, which makes it more dif­fi­cult for taxi driv­ers to live off their taxis alone,” said Sherko.

Cit­i­zens, on the other side, com­plain about the high price of trans­porta­tion.

Mamosta Na­jat, a school teacher, says he goes to work and back home by taxi ev­ery day.

“I pay 4,000 to 5,000 Iraqi Di­nars on taxis ev­ery day, which amounts to al­most a quar­ter of my monthly in­come,” Na­jat com­plained. “I have not no­ticed any re­duc­tion in taxi fares in the two months since the fuel prices were reg­u­lated.”

Na­jat ar­gues the gov­ern­ment should not al­low taxi driv­ers to play with the prices as they wish.

There are many peo­ple who be­lieve the gov­ern­ment, rather than driv­ers, should set taxi fares.

Ex­perts sug­gest con­trol­ling the num­ber of taxis op­er­at­ing in a city, as well as iden­ti­fy­ing their lo­ca­tions and us­ing taxi me­ters to cal­cu­late fares based on spe­cific cri­te­ria as ways of con­trol­ling trans­porta­tion costs.

The im­port­ing of taxis should also be reg­u­lated; com­pa­nies should not be al­lowed sim­ply to im­port as many taxis as they like.

The stan­dard­iza­tion of fuel prices and qual­ity in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion along with moves to reg­u­late sup­ply to pre­vent fuel short­ages in any part of the Re­gion have had a pos­i­tive im­pact.

A source from the Er­bil Oil Prod­ucts Dis­tri­bu­tion Direc­torate of the KRG Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, has promised that price re­duc­tions will be con­sis­tent and that the next step will be to im­prove qual­ity and in­crease quan­tity to meet mar­ket de­mands.

This file pho­tos de­picts cars driv­ing in a Down­town Er­bil street.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.