Hun Sen singles out foreign companies for criticism in speech at graduation ceremony
Total and Caltex – these two always increase prices. ... we should encourage local ... companies.
Pump Prices August 5
- PTT 3,950 riels
- Sokimex 4,000 riels
- Tela 4,050 riels
- Caltex 4,050 riels
- Total 4,100 riels
PRIME Minister Hun Sen delivered brickbats and bouquets to petrol retailers on Wednesday as he asked them to either lower pump prices or hold them steady.
Speaking at a university graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen praised two local fuel companies and criticised two international firms for their different approaches.
"I am still calling on [fuel companies] not to increase their prices or to hold them, and I admire Sokimex and Tela because they have helped us a lot," he said at the graduation ceremony for Build Bright University students.
Referring to Total and Caltex, the PM said their prices rise when international prices go up.
Despite global trends, he said, Sokimex and Tela managed to hold prices steady.
"Total and Caltex - these two always increase prices in Phnom Penh because they say their partners are abroad and they are listed on foreign stock exchanges," he said. "The companies that have a large share in foreign countries are too difficult. We should encourage local petroleum companies and do business with them because they are easy to talk to."
However, Ministry of Commerce figures obtained Wednesday show that Tela and Caltex sell their fuel at the same price - both companies offer gold brand at 4,050 riels (US$0.96) per litre and silver brand at 3,850 riels a litre.
Foreign oil firms silent
The prime minister's comments were avoided by French firm Total. The company's country Managing Director Stephane Dion told the Post that he could not comment having not heard Hun Sen's speech.
Sokimex Deputy Director Heu Heng was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
However, Bin Many Mialia, the business division manager for Thai energy firm PTT, said his company sells at a fair price compared with other firms, with its premium gold petrol retailing at 3,950 riels per litre.
"I can't control the precise price because we are beholden to fluctuations in the global market - when the price on the foreign markets goes up, we raise our prices too," he said.
"I don't mean to imply that I am opposing or denying the premier's words, but it is the way we do our pricing."
The Cambodian government regularly holds meetings with petroleum companies operating in the Kingdom in which both sides regularly discuss pricing and ways to reduce costs for the consumers as well as methods for addressing Cambodia's dilapidated public transport system.