No mechanism has been adopted yet for the introduction of subsidised fuel cards for distribution to low income groups in the Sultanate, the Ministry of Oil and Gas said here on Tuesday, debunking social media reports suggesting that the move was imminent.
In a statement, the ministry said a technical committee tasked with setting fuel prices under the current deregulated, market-linked fuel pricing regime has been trialling the rollout of suitable electronic card-based systems in cooperation with fuel marketing companies in the Sultanate.
Subsidised fuel cards are keenly awaited by low-income earners impacted by the rise in fuel prices following the rollback of government subsidy in January 2016.
The subsidised fuel card system will be particularly targeted at individuals and families on social welfare, aimed at mitigating the impact of relatively higher fuel costs on their limited finances.
It appears that the social media reports are linked to images in circulation showing samples of ‘Fuel Subsidy Cards’, similar in design to ATM bank cards or typical electronic cards, but emblazoned with the logo of a major fuel marketing firm.
In April, a senior official of the Ministry of Oil and Gas did confirm that a move to introduce subsidised fuel cards for financially weaker sections of the population was afoot.
But he stressed that a final announcement would be made by authorities once the proposed initiative was fully studied and tested, and proven to be effective in alleviating the fuel price burden on the targeted population segment — low income families.
Zainab al Nassri