Need to reduce consumption rises as fuel imports surge

As fuel can be imported freely from overseas, the volume and value of fuel imports into Myanmar is expected to rise this year compared to last year, U Khin Maung Lwin, Assistant Secretary from the Ministry of Commerce, told The Myanmar Times.

“Gasoline has been allowed to be imported regularly into Myanmar. As the private sector has been granted permission to import without restrictions, this year, we will see an increase in fuel imports,” he said.

According to data by the Ministry of Commerce, a total of 1.73 million tonnes of diesel fuel has been imported so far in the current fiscal year, while a total of over 980,000 tonnes of petrol was imported. The cost for importing diesel is nearly $808 million, and for petrol it is almost $519 million, said U Khin Maung Lwin.

In comparison, during the same period in the previous fiscal year, a total of 1.28 million tonnes of diesel and 450,000 tonnes of petrol, just half the amount imported this year, were imported.

The reason for the increase in fuel imports is due to the changes in the vehicle import system. These days, more people are able to drive cars, and this, in turn, has raised consumption and demand for fuel, U Win Myint, the secretary of Myanmar Petroleum Trade Association (MPTA) said.

Meanwhile, the entry of ride hailing apps like Uber and Grab have led to rises in the number of passengers and taxis on the road. And, a rising number of factories and jobs have resulted in higher migration of people from rural areas to the likes of Yangon and Mandalay.

That has all led to a rise in demand for fuel. “Demand is increasing. [Fuel] is used for travelling or utilised in factories and workshops. For the nation, it is going to have to spend a lot of its revenue if more fuel is to be imported. So, our country has to assess ways to reduce consumption,” he added.

Measures are already being taken to reduce the domestic usage of diesel via provision of better public transport services such as the new Yangon Bus Service and Yangon Water Taxi Service. Meanwhile, efforts are being taken to implement stricter environmental conservation laws.

Over the longer term though, Myanmar needs to invest in better fuel processing infrastructure at home. Even though the country exports high volumes of natural gas, it is still forced to import processed fuel due to the lack of facilities to process its own diesel or gasoline.

As of now, fuel imports and fuel import services are rising domestically and there are now about 70 local and foreign companies involved in the business here, according to the MPTA.

Source: Myanmar Times

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