Bulgaria's Deputy PM Warns of 'Surprising Inspections' at Fuel Stations
Part of forthcoming inspections at petrol stations will be surprising so that the state performs successfully its functions in the fuel market, Deputy Prime Minister Domislav Donchev has said.
"Fuel is the blood of the economy and if prices are lower, this gives the opportunity for stronger growth," Donchev, who is in charge of economic development EU funds absorption, told NOVA TV in a Saturday interview.
The Deputy PM, however, made clear it was not up to the government to impose fines, and the matter was left to the competition watchdog CPC to decide.
This comes against the backdrop of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's attacks on petrol stations which he maintains have been committing serious violations in fuel trade over the past years. Borisov vented his anger after joint inspections of several agency which registered a number of manipulations, including price rigging and additional cisterns dug in the ground beneath some stations.
Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov later suggested a cartel might be in place between petrol stations which in his words write up fuel prices considerably.
Though admitting on Saturday that state interference in "a number of sectors... suggest not only social but political agitation as well", he insisted something was "wrong" in the fuel market and it had to be objectively analyzed.
"Those who sell fuel without having contributed to the budget place burden on everyone," he said.
In his words, not only is there a problem with "the quantity of fuel [sold to customers], but also with the quality". Donchev was referring to the inspection's finding that some stations regularly mixed petrol with other substances which reduced quality.
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