MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Petroleum products are sold at a higher rate in northern Balkh province compared to other provinces, residents say, but local officials link the high price to good quality of the oil in the province.
Balkh residents say the prices of petroleum products have decreased in the entire country, but they are sold at the same high rates in Balkh.
Abdul Wahid, a taxi driver in Mazar-i-Sharif, told Pajhwok that petrol prices had declined across the country, except Balkh where one liter of petrol was still sold for 86 afghanis.
He said the government had no control over oil prices and filling stations sold the commodity at a higher price arbitrarily.
Abdul Qahir, a driver on the Balkh-Jawzjan road, said petrol and diesel prices in other provinces were 80 afghanis and 100 afghanis per liter respectively, but in Balkh the prices were higher.
He said the government should control fuel prices and urged relevant authorities to bring down the prices in Balkh.
However, an official of a private filling station, Hamid, told Pajhwok that the fuel prices were higher in Balkh because Russian and Turkmen products which had a high quality were sold in Balkh province.
“Iranian fuel is sold in other provinces, which is smuggled into the country and has no quality.”
Abdul Latif Faqiri, head of the oil sellers’ union in Balkh, also acknowledged people’s complaint, but said about 140 oil tanks operated in Mazar-i-Sharifand all sold oil according to the daily price set by the union.
“The quality of oil is good in this province and that’s why its price is high,” he said, adding that no one had the right to sell oil above the fixed price.
Government officials in Balkh say they have handed over the responsibility of determining oil prices to the Balkh Oil Dealers’ Association.
Mohammad Yasin Hamidi, technical affairs head at Balkh Petroleum Department, told Pajhwok that petroleum products were in Balkh as per the price set by the union.
He said they only evaluated and monitored oil quantity and quality and they were e not responsible for determining the price.
Recently, fuel prices decreased by seven afghanis per liter in several provinces, including Kabul.