Malawi fuel and electricity tariffs hiked: Tough times!

It never rains but pours for the country’s consumers as they are, now, expected to dig deeper into their pockets for survival following the hiking up of electricity tariffs aside an increase in fuel pump prices by Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA).

MERA on Thursday announced an increase in fuel pump prices with 12 and 14 percent. Petrol is now selling at K 606.30 from K539.00 per litre, representing a 12.49 percent increase. Diesel is at K509.90 from K434.30 per little, a 17.41 percent rise.

The energy regulation body in its a statement released on Thursday, states that, apart from hiking fuel prices, it has also increased the electricity tariffs from average price of K16.05 per kilowatt hour to K22.78 per kilowatt as the maximum.

The fuel prices and electricity tariffs increase became effective on Friday morning November 9, 2012. Electricity tariffs once went up in May 2012.

Malawi Kwacha: Consumers digging deeper in their pockets

In its statement, MERA argues that the tariffs hike has been triggered by an increase in inflation and a decline in the strength of the kwacha, which impact negatively on the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM).

MERA says, since last May’s upward fuel price adjustment, kwacha has been depreciating against the South African Rand and Free on Board prices for liquefied petroleum gas has increased by 22 percent.

“It is MERA’s general view that the changes in the energy prices will not affect prices of goods and services unrealistically,” MERA chairperson Lyton Zinyemba said in the statement.

The increase in fuel prices and electricity tariffs came after the regulatory body had shrugged off speculation that the price will go up following the reversal last month.

The reversal was described as political by most commentators who claimed President Joyce Banda administration had suppressed the Automatic Fuel Pricing Mechanism to avoid further alienating the public following regular changes in fuel prices and the cost of other basic goods due to the devaluation of the kwacha.

Automatic Fuel Pricing Mechanism entails that fuel prices should fluctuate depending on the strength of the kwacha against major foreign currencies as well as movements in global fuel prices.

There is currently general public tension across the country on what will happen next due to fuel prices and electricity tariffs increase, which is also determining factor for prices of most basic goods and services as well as transportation in the country.

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