PARLIAMENT REFUSES TO CANCEL THE EXCISE ON GAS
An excise duty on propane-butane sold for domestic purposes will still be imposed in 2005. The exact amount of that duty will be equal to the excise imposed on the gas for motor vehicles - BGN340 per ton. This is the decision taken by the MPs on December 14. They voted in favour of removing the excise duty on propane-butane for domestic purposes on January 1, 2006 and not on January 1, 2005 as proposed by the opposition. That's how the rulers made useless the efforts of their opponents to relieve the costs of the people who use gas for domestic purposes. According to the MPs from the United Democratic Forces (UDF), the Government's claims that it delays the excise cancellation because it cannot efficiently control the purposes for which gas is used are groundless. During the discussions in the plenary hall the opposition representatives said that there were four companies in the country licensed to fill gas bottles and their business could be controlled easily by the tax authorities.The opposition accused the Government of refusing to cancel the domestic gas excise under pressure from strong lobbyist interests. Still, nobody dared explain who owned the companies that would profit most by the refusal.I declare from the National Assembly tribune that I have no personal interest in solving the problem with the gas excise and have accepted the reasons of the Ministry of Finance, Nina Radeva, Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Budget Commission, responded to the attacks.The main reason the Ministry of Finance pointed out for delaying the cancellation of the domestic gas excise is that there is no ready mechanism for control over the gas consumption. The mechanism should be regulated by the new Law on Excises that is now being prepared and will be valid from January 1, 2006. The law will stipulate the establishment of special excise storehouses that will be controlled by the tax administration and will be the only place where gas will be filled in bottled and restored.