Prices of commodities in local markets are going up and cash-strapped Malawi should brace for more torrid times as fuel prices are expected to follow suit.
The price rise is expected to be discussed at a special committee from Ministry of Finance, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) which converges every Tuesday of the first week of every month to determine the prices of fuel.
The new prices are to come in for the current ones which see Petrol selling at MK796.20 per litre; diesel is at K805.50 per litre and paraffin is selling at K719.30 per litre and are scheduled to be announced in the 48 hours.
The meeting is expected to drive fuel prices up, which in turn will have a domino effect on the pricing of various commodities.
Efforts to get a comment from Mera on the impending fuel price hike were futile as questions sent to the authority remained unanswered .
Analysts warn that cash-poor Malawians will be left worse off given that any fuel price increase drives up the cost of other commodities.
An economic expert Dr Thomas Munthali said Malawians should brace for “tough times ahead “ with fears that the rise will have a detrimental impact on the current economic situation as the local currency, the kwacha, has continued to show signs of ceding to major international currencies, notably the United States dollar.
“There are no signs that the Kwacha will start to appreciate any sooner and because of that prices of goods and services will continue to go up,” stated Munthali.
Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Charles Chuka downplayed the whingeing on weakening of kwacha against other major foreign currencies.
“There is no news that the kwacha is depreciating, because we were expecting it anyway. The country still has not managed to diversify its sources of forex,” Chuka was quoted by Business News recently.
“If exporters get the right price for their dollars, they can invest more in exports. If we continue to worry about consumers like you and me and traders, then we are missing the point,” he added.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :