Gas station jam-packed on eve of price hike – Coops union warns against wholesale prices’ increase

KUWAIT: Drivers queue up to fill their cars with fuel at petrol stations in Kuwait City yesterday on the eve of increased petrol prices. The Kuwaiti cabinet decided on August 1, 2016 to raise petrol prices by more than 80 percent from September 1 as part of economic reforms aimed at countering falling oil revenues. These are the first increases in heavily subsidized petrol prices in the OPEC member for almost two decades. The oil-rich Gulf state liberalized the prices of diesel and kerosene in January 2015 and revises their prices monthly. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Drivers queue up to fill their cars with fuel at petrol stations in Kuwait City yesterday on the eve of increased petrol prices. The Kuwaiti cabinet decided on August 1, 2016 to raise petrol prices by more than 80 percent from September 1 as part of economic reforms aimed at countering falling oil revenues. These are the first increases in heavily subsidized petrol prices in the OPEC member for almost two decades. The oil-rich Gulf state liberalized the prices of diesel and kerosene in January 2015 and revises their prices monthly. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Thousands of citizens and expats rushed to gas stations in all six governorates to fill up yesterday, before petrol prices go up from today. The melee witnessed clashes amongst customers who tried to jump the line, and some stations stopped operating after they ran out of petrol. Gas station workers reported that demand for petrol skyrocketed before the new prices went into effect, with most stations overcrowded with motorists queuing to fill up according to the old prices for the last time. However, as a result of some social media campaigns against non-KNPC gas stations, demand was expected to drop because many customers plan to boycott them.

Case to court
Meanwhile, a lawyer yesterday filed a case at the administrative court demanding scrapping the decision to increase petrol prices. Having filed the case only 12 hours before the decision takes effect, the court is not expected to have enough time to order its annulment. In his case, the lawyer argued that the new prices would overburden all consumers including himself. Informed sources said that the court would look into the immediate demand to scrap the new prices in a hearing due to be held on Wednesday, Sept 7.

Unjustified increase
Separately, the Union of Cooperative Societies urged the stores yesterday to reject any unjustified increase of commodities’ prices by wholesale traders. Some goods’ importers may hike the rates at pretext of higher costs due to the higher fuel prices, Saad Al-Shabo, the union chairman, said in a statement to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). Traders must abide by the rates set by the federation, he said. He urged societies’ stakeholders and consumers to report about controversial high prices of commodities. The union was established in 1971, signaling launch of the cooperative businesses in the country.

By Meshaal Al-Enezi

This article was published on 31/08/2016