At a public hearing in the Chamber of Deputies, Petrobras defended the current fuel price policy based on the value of a barrel of oil in the international market and on the dollar. The truck drivers’ representatives, on the other hand, announced a trend towards a new strike, to be decided at a national meeting scheduled for the 16th, in Rio de Janeiro.
The debate took place this Wednesday (13th) in a virtual hearing of the Commission for Economic Development, Industry, Trade and Services, which also included government representatives, oil companies and businessmen from various sectors.
The main objective was to find solutions for the constant adjustments in the prices of oil products. Despite many criticisms of the so-called international parity policy (PPI) in force since the Michel Temer government, the general manager of sales in the domestic market at Petrobras, Sandro Barreto, said that the PPI guarantees full supply to the country. The international market is essential for the market to continue to be supplied without the risk of shortages. We have several players. Brazil imports a large amount of diesel, gasoline and LPG and these players are part of the supply chain,” he explained.
From January to September this year, resale prices registered increases of 28% for diesel, 32% for gasoline and 27% for LPG, according to the Institute for Strategic Studies in Oil, Natural Gas and Biofuels (INEEP). The outlook is for this upward trend to continue due to fluctuations in the international price of a barrel of oil.
The president of the Brazilian Association of Motor Vehicle Drivers (ABRAVA), Wallace Landim, said that the current situation is more serious than that recorded in the 2018 truck drivers’ strike. meeting on the 16th, according to Plínio Dias, president of the National Council for Road Cargo Transport (CNTRC). “Many truck drivers can’t even go home anymore, because fuel takes 70% to 80% (of their income). And another 15% is taken by toll. So, here is our indignation. Nobody wants a new stoppage date, but the path is being made for that”, he said.
Director of the Single Federation of Oil Workers (FUP), Mário Dalzot even asked the Federal Police and the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) to investigate the alleged “collusion” and “cartel” between Petrobras managers and importing companies. The government representatives, on the other hand, stated that the prices of oil products rise in the domestic market due to the rise in commodities, the Real’s exchange rate devaluation, ICMS taxation and Brazil’s import profile.
The deputy director of the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s fuel department, Deivson Timbó, cited efforts to reduce prices through a zero PIS/COFINS rate on diesel and LPG sold in cylinders of up to 13 kg.
In search of a solution to the rise in prices, INEEP analyst Carla Ferreira pointed out alternatives for the current policy of international parity. “The establishment of a fiscal mechanism, the adoption of a tax that could have a varied rate on fuels, a stabilization fund and also the consideration of production costs: that the adjustment parameter for Petrobras was not just the quotation of prices international prices, but also to count the prices of derivatives in the domestic market, considering the cost of refining, plus margins that could also remunerate shareholders”, he enumerated.
Another debated alternative was the bill (PL 750/21) that creates the Petroleum Derivatives Price Stabilization Fund (FEPD), supplied by a crude oil export tax. The text by deputy Nereu Crispim (PSL-RS) is under analysis by the Economic Development Commission, and had a preliminary rejection opinion by the rapporteur, deputy Geninho Zuliani (DEM-SP).
For the Brazilian Institute of Oil and Gas (IBP), the proposal alienates investors and goes against the principles of free market and free competition. The truck drivers and former legislative consultant Paulo César Lima, on the other hand, claim that the text makes necessary adjustments in the pricing policy and in the sector’s tax model.
Debate organizer, Deputy Helder Salomão (PT-ES) is also a defender of Nereu Crispim’s proposal. “The price went up because there was a change in the conduct and calculation methodology. I’m not against the market taking care of the profits of your business, but it can’t be the market who has to take care of fuel prices, otherwise the market will do what’s happening here: we earn in reais and pay for fuel in dollars ”, lamented.
During the debate, the guests highlighted the consequences of the increase in the prices of oil products throughout the production chain, including the citizen’s basic food basket. The president of the National Federation of Commerce of Fuels and Lubricants (Fefuels), Paulo Soares, recalled that the high price has driven customers away and reduced sales at 43 thousand gas stations in the country. Soares also complained about the high tax burden: according to him , there is an average of 48% of PIS/COFINS and ICMS in the final price of the fuel.