Slovak ministers disagree on Russian oil tax effect on prices

The new temporary tax will be used by the country’s only oil refinery owned by Slovnaft. Russian oil is usually $5 cheaper than Brent oil, but because of the war in Ukraine, the discount rose to $35.6 – an important increase since it is the base from which a new 30% tax will be calculated. This means that if the price is $35.6, Slovnaft will pay $9.18 to the state per barrel.  [Shutterstock/Ventura]

Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) and Economy Minister Richard Sulík disagree on whether the new temporary tax on Russian oil approved by parliament on Wednesday will affect gas prices.

The new temporary tax will be used by the country’s only oil refinery owned by Slovnaft. Russian oil is usually $5 cheaper than Brent oil, but because of the war in Ukraine, the discount rose to $35.6 – an important increase since it is the base from which a new 30% tax will be calculated. This means that if the price is $35.6, Slovnaft will pay $9.18 to the state per barrel.

According to Matovič, the new tax would also bring in €280-290 million to the state each year. With this money, Matovič says he wants to finance the cost of leisure vouchers for children, which are part of his pro-family package.

Matovič, also a former prime minister, highlighted that such a tax does not exist in any European country, stressing that it was his idea. Before parliament’s approval, Matovič said he negotiated the new tax with Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and Slovnaft CEO Oszkár Világyi.

The new tax got the green light despite Sulík and his Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party voting against it. Sulík said the measure would increase the already high prices at gas stations, while Matovič says there will be no such increase.

The two ministers also disagree on the war in Ukraine. Matovič, known for his dislike of Sulík, accused him of “treason” and commented on his Ukraine stance, saying, “you don’t do things like this for free.”

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