Malawi’s Vice-President and president of the new party UTM, Saulos Chilima, on Sunday attacked Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) over the latest fuel price hike and demanded a proper explanation and a reduction.
Chilima made the demand during a political rally that UTM held in Karonga district where thousands attended to listen to the party leaders as they unpacked their vision for Malawi.
The country’s second-in-command said MERA had no justification of effecting the latest fuel price hike because the global oil prices have gone down this week, saying the hike is politically motivated.
“We know the kwacha has gone weaker against other currencies but increasing through prices is not the answer to solve the kwacha’s depreciation on the market hence they should not lie to us,” said Chilima.
Under the new price structure, a litre of petrol is fetching 6.2 percent more from K932.50 to K990.50, diesel has gone up by 6.9 percent from K935.60 to K990.40 and paraffin is now selling at K785.80 from K735.30, a 3.93 percent hike.
Mera chief executive officer Collins Magalasi said the effect of the downward trend in world oil prices can only be considered at the next petroleum pricing review meeting as Malawi considers “the one month-minus-one mechanism” which entails that developments in a previous month when the product was bought determine the prices.
But Chilima condemned the pump price increase, saying it would push Malawians into more misery with the rising costs of goods and services.
The UTM leader observed that it was strange to note that Malawi is the only country where fuel prices are increasing upwards despite falling fuel prices in the rest of the world.
“I’m a person who prides myself on speaking the truth so if there is anyone who wants to oppose my views they should please go ahead but fuel prices should be reduced, this is not an issue we should be wasting time arguing o, just reduce those prices right now,” Chilima said.
He warned that if the prices of fuel are not reduced as demanded, there will be some “plan of action” to be taken.
This is the second fuel price increase in just four months. In July the price of fuel went up by the same margin.
In his speech, Chilima promised that once he becomes Head of State, Karonga, the border district with Tanzania will be elevated to a city status.
Chilima further promised Karonga residents to promote Kilombelo rice as well as fish by finding export markets.
The UTM leader maintained that if elected as President next year, he will seal loopholes leading to the loss of billions of kwacha from public coffers.
Chilima also said if he is elected president, he will review some laws regarding the appointment of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director so as to make the bureau independent from political interference.
On UTM plans for the country, he reiterated that it will create 1 million jobs within a year as well as improve the nation’s education and health systems.
The second citizen said UTM is serious and will field candidates in all positions including ward councillors and members of Parliament in 2019 tripartite elections.
Speaking earlier during the rally UTM secretary general Patricia Kaliati said she was delighted with the high turnout saying it shows people’s trust for Chilima.
Chilima initially launched UTM at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe in July following a sour relationship with the DPP which forced him to resign from the party.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :