No going back on fuel law

The government is determined to apply by any means possible the measure for the equalization of tax on heating oil and automotive diesel, with Deputy Economy Minister Antonis Bezas warning that tax evaders will be punished. In an interview with Kathimerini, Bezas said that the measure of raising the tax applicable for heating oil to that of automotive diesel, with the difference later being refunded to heating oil distributors, is only the beginning. Measures will follow for marine fuel, as well as special regulations for farmers. «This is the first time the ministry has presented a well-prepared system for beating the illegal trade in heating oil. And the law will be applied,» Bezas emphasized. «Our way is the most reliable, the most practical and, I believe, the most efficient.» Asked about the possibility of changes in the market, given that a large segment profited from the illegal fuel trade, Bezas stated that «there will be changes but they will be in favor of its healthier operation. No rise in heating oil prices is justified by the operation of the new system and the participation of companies in it.» He added that there will be a new regulation in favor of shippers within the year, to dissuade them from buying fuel from abroad, where there is no such tax on oil. The Economy Ministry is meanwhile bracing for an escalation in opposition from the Federation of Petrol Vendors in Greece (OBE) and is already proceeding with the installation of a new logistics system for the monitoring of all data relating to the trade of oil in Greece. The ministry will table the relevant amendment in Parliament in the next few days, while also examining other methods to combat illegal trading in the sector. Separately, in an interview to yesterday’s Vima newspaper, Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said the social security bill will pass through Parliament without problems, saying that he is not worried about a possible backlash from government deputies.