Business and Technology

Zambian govt justifies fuel price hike

The government has justified its decision to increase fuel prices saying this is a necessary but short-term measure that will facilitate Zambia’s economic recovery and has hinted that fuel prices will reduce in the long run.

Speaking this morning during the Vice President’s Question Time in parliament, Vice President Mutale Nalumango says while there will be turbulence with the removal of subsidies in the energy sector, Zambians will appreciate long term results such as free education, better health care services, and increased funding to constituencies among others.

Ms. Nalumango acknowledges that some taxes such as premium insurance for the third party for motor vehicles will be increased but argues that this is meant to help the government deal with the country’s indebtedness and ensure even distribution of the county’s resources as opposed to leaving it to the minority who have been benefiting 98 percent from fuel and electricity subsidies.

Meanwhile, Energy Expert has commended the Energy Regulation Board-ERB- for the price adjustment saying the extent of the fuel subsidies had become unsustainable and a major threat to the national budget performance.

Mr Chikwanda who is also Energy Forum Zambia Chairperson says the oil industry had become weak to the extent that government had to start compensating some oil companies in order for them to keep on importing fuel into the country.

But Operation Young Vote-OYV- has warned that the UPND Alliance administration risks losing the support of the majority Zambians who are now frustrated if it does not reverse the hike in the fuel pump price immediately.

OYV Executive Director Guess Nyirenda says not only is the hike in the fuel pump price shocking but also unprecedentedly too high especially coming from a political grouping that barely four months ago, promised citizens a better Zambia where the cost of living would be affordable for all.

Mr. Nyirenda says the UPND Alliance government generally and President Hakainde Hichilema in particular, knows too well that the economy has been a nightmare for an average citizen, the less privileged and the youth due to poor policies and decisions by the previous regime and that this increment on fuel prices is only condemning majority poor citizens to untold misery and destitution.

The Energy Regulation Board-ERB- yesterday announced an upward adjustment on fuel pump prices, effective midnight yesterday, with petrol increased from K17.62 to K21.16 while diesel is now at K20.15 from K15.

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