Malawi hikes fuel prices again: Consumers worry of hard times

Barely a month after the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) hiked fuel pump prices, motorists will again have to dig deeper into their pockets following another increase effected Tuesday.

MERA has released a statement announcing the new fuel prices upward adjustments effective March 12, 2013.

According to the energy regulator the new fuel prices are as follows: Petrol has jumped from K704.30 per litre to K714.90 representing a 1.51 percent increase while diesel will now be selling at K693.80 from the previous price of K683.60, a representation of 1.49 percent adjustment.

MERA says paraffin (for industrial use) which was at K591.40 will now be selling at K613.90 representing a 3.80 percent hike while that of domestic use remains at K171.00 per litre.

 Fuel prices climb in Malawi
Fuel prices up in Malawi

This is the second time MERA has not adjusted price of paraffin for domestic use which is used for lighting by majority of poor rural Malawians.

In the statement which has been signed by MERA Chairman Lyton Dzinyemba, the price adjustment is as a result of an increase on the international market as well as the depreciation of the Malawi Kwacha.

During the period 8th February 2013 and 8th March 2013, the Malawi Kwacha depreciated against a United States dollar from K365.16 to K391.99 which represents a 7.35 percent loss in the value of kwacha.

In just eight months, the Joyce Banda administration which will be clocking one year in power next month, has hiked fuel pump prices four times in September and October 2012 then last month.

The adjustments are likely to impact heavily on poor consumers who are already feeling the pinch of the unbearable ever-rising costs of basic needs on daily basis.

Over the last few weeks, Malawians have been buying a 50kg bag of maize, the staple food, in the ranges of K9000 to K12000 from about K4800 not long ago.

The everyday rising cost of basic commodities has also thrown into question President Banda’s much touted Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) currently being implemented as life of Malawians, most of whom live below $1 a day, continues becoming beyond the pale.

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