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Updated on October 17, 2018 From Myanmar Business Today

Petroleum Traders Suggest Tax Changes to Bring Down Fuel Costs

Local fuel prices have surged in recent months causing the Myanmar Petroleum Trade Association to urge the government to review its taxation system in order to stabilize local fuel prices.
        As the tax system stands right now, fuel traders must pay a 2 percent advance income tax, 1.5 percent custom duty, 5 percent commercial tax, and 5 percent special item tax for a total of 13.5 percent.
        The association urged the government to make a review during the regular meeting between the businessmen and vice president U Myint Swe at UMFCCI. U Than Win Zaw, an executive officer of the association, stated that 2 percent advance income tax is triggering fuel prices and government needs to change 2 percent advance income tax payment to quarterly payments.
        At the meeting, U Phyo Min Thein, Yangon Chief Minister, who attended the meeting, guaranteed to support the effort to stabilize local fuel prices.
        “From this meeting, we will try to help generate good outcomes,” he promised.
        Local fuel dealers are facing mounting criticism because of the sky high fuel prices. It doesn’t help that prices go up with a higher dollar exchange rate, but does not go down along a more favorable rate.
        Dr. Win Myint, Myanmar Fuel Importers and Distributer Association said at a press conference held on September 28 that the reason why local fuel prices do not go down is because fuel dealers have not made a profit.
        In respond to the comment, U Hla Htay, a lawmaker at Yangon Regional Parliament, urged the government at the parliament to close down the so-called revenue-losing companies, and allow new foreign and local investments.
        The Government has had an open invitation for foreign investments since 2017, but no foreign investment companies are operating yet.
        In 2017, Puma and Shell respectively agreed with local investors to work in local retail market, but there is no official fuel shop under the name of fuel giants has been set up.
        U Zaw Htay, General Director of State Counsellor’s office, said at the press conference that government will hold talks with the Ministry of Electricity and Energy on the current progress and land issues.
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