Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether the Government will consider setting up a cooperative to supply petrol to help moderate the costs of fuel.
Mr Don Wee: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether the Ministry will regulate petrol and diesel pump prices in view of their escalating prices amid record profits for oil companies.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling)
1. Global crude oil prices have risen significantly driven by higher demand as economies reopen following the pandemic, as well as constrained supplies due to sanctions against Russia and under-investment in fossil fuel production over the years. Fuel prices in Singapore have also risen in tandem.
2. Retail pump operators, including cooperatives, who wish to supply fuel to independent motorists will need to operate at sites that are suitable for such purpose, including the need to comply with prevailing environmental, fire safety and other requirements. Such sites are identified and allocated via competitive tender from time to time. A cooperative may not be able to offer lower pump prices unless they can secure lower-cost supplies.
3. Regulating or capping petrol and diesel pump prices will distort the market and serve to benefit car owners, especially those who consume more, who may include more well-to-do users. It will also reduce the incentive for Singaporeans to switch to more energy-efficient modes of transport. Instead, the Government’s approach is to ensure that we have a competitive fuel retail market.
4. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) monitors the fuel market closely and will not hesitate to investigate the practices of the retail operators. We will take firm enforcement actions against any anti-competitive behaviour. I also encourage motorists to make use of the Fuel Kaki website, developed by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), to compare the effective price of petrol and diesel across retailers, including the various discounts and rebates offered.
5. In addition, the Government is also providing targeted assistance to the groups hardest hit by rising fuel costs. Last month, DPM Wong announced support measures for self-employed persons whose livelihoods depend on their vehicles. Eligible taxi main hirers and private hire car drivers will receive a one-off relief of S$150 next month. Drivers of combi buses and limousines who are members of the National Private Hire Vehicle Association, as well as delivery drivers and delivery motorcycle riders who are members of the National Delivery Champions Association, can apply for a one-off cash relief of up to S$300 next month under the NTUC U FSE Relief Scheme 2022.
6. The Government will review the fuel retail market to determine if there are other ways to alleviate the pressure on fuel prices. We will continue to monitor the situation and will not hesitate to provide more assistance if required.