Mumbai: Essar Global Ltd chairman Shashi Ruia has said the government should jack up prices of petrol and diesel sold by state-run retailers keeping with the rally in international crude oil prices.
“Rising crude prices will certainly affect us. If it keeps increasing this way, the government should raise prices of petrol and diesel,” Ruia said on Wednesday night.
Oil has doubled from $36 per barrel in January to about $70-72 per barrel now on expectations that the worst of the global economic slowdown is over.
Essar Oil, part of the $22 billion conglomerate, on 16 June hiked prices of petrol by Rs1-2.50 and diesel by Rs1-2, prior to which it sold the fuels at rates on par with PSU firms Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.
“It is our request to the government that retailers like us should also be given petro-bonds like the PSUs. We should be treated at par with the state-run oil firms,” Ruia said.
Oil PSUs sell fuel below market rates and are subsidised by the government in the form of oil bonds.
Private retailers such as Reliance Industries and Essar Oil could not compete with the subsidised rates and thus incurred losses.
Ruia also wanted the government to bring in safeguard duties for the steel sector.
Besides, he expected more spends in infrastructure development and creation of further opportunities for rural employment from the forthcoming budget.
“There should be more safeguard duties for the steel sector. I also expect an increase in allocation for infrastructure projects,” he said.
“Besides, the employment programme has been a huge success. The government should provide more opportunities for employment because it improves real spending power at the base level and increases disbursements at the panchayat level,” Ruia added.
Essar’s backoffice unit Aegis BPO is hunting for acquisitions in Africa this year.
The $390 million firm will complete acquisition of Australian UCMS Group Ltd by August-end.
“We are now going (for the next acquisition) into Africa,” Ruia said.