Law rebukes government’s argument that cannot impose price caps for fuel

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Since October of last year, citizens in Albania have seen a rise in the cost of living, including the cost of bread and fuel. However, the Competition Authority has previously declared that it has a responsibility to protect competition rather than to cut prices.

Prime Minister Rama, although acknowledging that the country is in “nearly a state of war,” has used a similar justification to refuse to intervene in the price hike, claiming that the market determines the value and that the government has no authority to intervene in the market pricing.

But how true is this?

The law “On the processing, transportation and trade of oil, gas and their by-products”, Article 7 states:

It is within the authority of the Council of Ministers to liberalize the retail prices of oil and gas by-products. It is possible for the Council of Ministers to set temporary restrictions (ceiling or floor pricing) on the retail price of oil and gas by-products in particular market scenarios.

According to economics researcher Selim Blliku, there is a valid justification for the government not to intervene in the fuel trading market and set a maximum price for fuel.

As a result, prices of oil, gasoline, and natural gas in the country fluctuate from day to day, and sometimes hour to hour, despite the fact that the government has taken on the role of observer. The installation of price caps, according to experts, is beneficial in preventing these types of fluctuations with destructive complexities.

Price caps have previously been implemented in a number of nations in the region, including Kosovo and Serbia, as well as in the European Union and the United States of America.