Listen to people, fix fuel pricing-Malawi lawmaker Nnesa urges govt

Opposition lawmaker, George Nnesa has urged government to take heed of people’s complaints and revert to old fuel pricing mode to avoid plunging the country into more economic problems.

Joyce Banda’s administration through Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has adopted Automatic Pricing Mechanism (APM), which means local fuel will automatically fluctuate following trends in the world petroleum products prices and other macroeconomics fundamentals.

Nnesa, president of Mafunde party,  said  there was need for government to start listening to its people and change some of its economic policies that are only making life hard for the country.

Nnensa:  Fixed pricing

“There is a need for government to reintroduce fuel price stabilization fund as well as fixing the pricing mode because the current automatic pricing formula is not helping Malawians. It is affecting business people. There is a need for fixed pricing so that fuel prices could stay at certain range for sometime before next hike,” Nnesa said.

Nnesa further said currently some traders were taking advantage of the automatic pricing mechanism to withhold fuel commodity only to release it to the market once prices have been hiked.

“Through the current formula people are able to foretell when prices will go up, so they withhold the commodity until such time when they can leap off local people. I hope government is listening to people. It has to pay attention what people say and fix the situation,” he said.

Mera apart from adopting automatic pricing mechanism some months ago also introduced an Import Margin, a price build for petrol, diesel and paraffin to support the operations of the important segment of the fuel supply chain.

For a almost a month now there has been erratic fuel supplies on the market, which Minister of Energy and Mines, Cassim Chilumpha attributed to problem of foreign exchange availability.

And speaking in an interview with local media, Chilumpha said government was currently failing to buy enough fuel to meet the demand on the market.

“Fuel is available on the international market enough for us to procure and store in reserves but availability of forex remains biggest challenge. Low donor inflow and poor proceeds from this year’s tobacco season are major challenges contributing to the country’s lack of enough forex for adequate fuel procurement,” Chilumpha said .

Chilumpha disclosed that some of the country’s fuel supplying companies like Puma and Total do not have money to buy fuel on their own due to the current economic challenges.

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