OPINION

The blame game over petrol

The same old problem has reared its ugly head once more in the petrol markets. While every slight increase in the price of crude reaches gas stations at lighting speed, the reduction of international prices drags behind, slowly, if ever, reaching the dials of gasoline pumps. What this means is that in the process from distillation to distribution and mass consumption, there are those who are making hefty profits at the expense of consumers. Most likely all three links in this chain are to blame, but the finger-pointing system is well oiled and working like a charm. Each link assigns the blame on the next: Gas station owners blame distributors and they, in turn, blame the distilleries, and so on. However, whatever the truth might be, the Development Ministry is not free of responsibility. It still has a duty to make it perfectly clear that such profiteering will not go unpunished. The state has plenty of weapons in its arsenal; all it takes now is courage. And the question here is whether the ministry actually wants to put pressure on the profiteers. We will see the answer at the pump.