Finance ministry for fuel price hike before issuing oil bonds

Finance ministry for fuel price hike before issuing oil bonds

New Delhi: The Finance Ministry is keen about a hike in petrol and diesel prices to offset losses of oil firms, although it has agreed to issue oil bonds to insulate them from skyrocketing global crude prices.

“We like (domestic fuel) prices to go up before oil bonds could be issued. But it is not a precondition for issuing the bonds," a key Finance Ministry official told PTI.

In fact, government-owned oil firms had sought an immediate hike in petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene prices as they are losing over Rs185 crore a day on sale of these products.

The government is exploring different options since the entire burden cannot be passed on to the consumer.

The recent decision of the Cabinet to offer 5% government equity in Oil India to Indian Oil and 2.5% each to HPCL and BPCL was also aimed at arming these companies with an option to sell these shares at a later date so that they are compensated for their under-recoveries.

Pointing out the difference of opinion between the Finance Ministry and oil marketing companies, the source said the companies wanted the ministry to compensate them for their losses as of yesterday, but the ministry wants it to be tomorrow.

“Till when can we withhold the pressure ultimately, the government will have to take a decision. Informal discussions are on at the government level (over oil bonds)," the source said.