Reduce fuel prices, UPND pleads with uncaring PF

Our position has always been and still is that fuel at the pump in Zambia is too expensive. The PF Government has no alternative but to reduce the price of petrol and diesel. The song of the devaluation of the Kwacha being the reason to maintain high fuel prices is a tired one. The currencies in South Africa and Botswana have also devalued but fuel at the pump has been reduced to reflect the reduction of oil prices on the international market.

Fundamentally the PF have little knowledge on managing a modern economy. Commodity pricing on the international market is cyclic. In times of low oil prices the PF Government would have invested in increasing refinery and storage infrastructure. The INDENI refinery is too old, crumbling, almost obsolete and in dire need of modernisation. The cost of inefficiency at INDENI is unfortunately being transferred to motorists and industry who should have been beneficiaries of the current low oil prices. The cost is also as a result of an opaque procurement system that serves Government and not the people.

Cutting down the cost of fuel will stimulate an ailing economy that is already being battered by a serious power deficit. A lot of businesses are using generators that require fuel. A stimulated economy will induce a cascade of increased production, reduced cost of living and create jobs.

We do not need to belabour the point but it makes economic sense to reduce the cost of fuel now. In our previous statements and in particular one published on 14th January 2016, a detailed comparison of the cost of fuel in similar economies to ours was given. The PF Government did not heed our advice to reduce the cost of fuel then but we are hoping that they will do so now.

Charles Kakoma,

UPND Spokesperson

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