The Lao government has approved another fuel price hike - the eighth time in five months. The increase went into effect July 3 and will last indefinitely.
A liter of premium grade gasoline now costs 12,620 kips after a 100-kip raise. The price of regular grade gasoline went up 260 kips to 11,880 kips a liter, or roughly four dollars a gallon, while diesel price went up 150 kips to 11,790 kips a liter.
These are gasoline prices in the capital city of Vientiane only. Prices in other urban areas are no doubt higher, especially in remote provinces. The fuel price hike means increased hardship for ordinary Lao people who, already suffering from higher consumer prices, are appealing to authorities to control prices of basic necessities such as rice and other main staple foods.
In conjunction, the government also allowed a raise in transportation costs. Bus fares from Vientiane to other provinces were approved for a 30% raise.
Officials say rising global oil prices make it impossible for the government to continue to subsidy the oil industry. It is estimated that Laos' oil consumption stands at 1,300,000 liters a day on the average, which means the government will have to spend 520 million dollars a day on subsidies.
Meanwhile, official statistics show that the inflation rate is now higher than 10%, and consumer prices have gone up more than 120% from the same period in 2007.
Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao.