If United Party for National Development Hakainde Hichilema is serious about giving the Presidency his sixth attempt, then he really needs to get schooled on how fuel procurement and pricing is done.
HH should understand that fuel procurement is handled mostly by the private sector and that its price is dictated by the international markets. In Zambia, the government despite announcing the removal of subsidies still pays from its coffers to ensure that a person in Shang’ombo pays the same amount for fuel as a person in Ndola.
The PF government handles the fuel procurement system so efficiently hand in hand with the private sector such that there have never been acute fuel shortages since PF came into government.
What HH should know is that government coffers have competing needs. The current fuel pricing system is so efficient that it never starves other sectors that equally need government attention such as the health and education sectors.
It is therefore very immature for HH to blame the increase of fuel prices on government because the pricing system is that of cost-plus so as to ensure market reflective prices. In Zambia, fuel prices are more consistent than most southern African countries where prices are adjusted monthly. All this government does ensure that prices are predictable to consumers.
We attach a graph for Hakainde to see fuel price movements in South Africa for him to see how Africa’s largest economy does its pricing. He should note the price levels and also note that South Africa has its own ports and definitely cheaper to import fuel than land-linked Zambia.
From the table, HH should even see that coastal areas in SA pay less than inland. Now he should imagine how much Zambia should pay. For the case of Zambia, the government supplements transportation costs to ensure that in Nakonde and Shang’ombo, prices are equal.
HH should not lie to his readers with fake diagrams on how to reduce the cost of fuel because the whole system is more complicated than he thinks.