Friday, January 23, 2009

(NYASATIMES) HRCC presses Malawi govt to act on fuel prices

HRCC presses Malawi govt to act on fuel prices
22 January, 2009 11:40:00

The Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC)- a network of over 80 nongovernmental organizations and civil society groupings in Malawi has called on government to explain on why the soared local fuel price is not responding to international changes.

In a media statement made available to Nyasa Times signed by HRCC's chairperson Undule Mwakasungula and national coordinator Mavuto Bamusi, the body notes that fuel prices have gone down on the global market but expressed surprise why Malawi is not reducing its prices.

“The international oil has roughly been reduced by 43 percent within the past one and a half months and yet, to our surprise, there have not been any changes to that effect,” the statement said.

“This is despite the fact that PIL is expected to effect the adjustments whenever there is a 5 percent (%) adjustment whether upwards or downwards.”

It says the price improvement on the international market raised anticipation to most Malawians as they expected the price to stabilize if not reduced a bit.

“HRCC therefore asks the government of Malawi through the ministry of Energy, or the newly established Energy Regulator Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) Including the Petroleum Importers Limited PIL to enlighten Malawians on why the soured local fuel price is not responding to international changes? Why are Malawians not given reasons for the silence?” queries the statement.

HRCC noted that “the reason that bodies like the Petroleum Importers Limited PIL and others have given is that the cost of fuel is high partly because of high transportation costs incurred during importation of the commodity. Should the oil price only be increased and not decreased? What is the PIL doing on this issue? is therefore HRCC's plea to government to ensure that this issue has been carefully considered.”

The issue of fuel prize reduction came to the limelight when UDF presidential candidate Dr Bakili Muluzi upon his arrival from United Kingdom called on government to reduce fuel prize following world fuel prize decrease.

HRCC said apart from the levies attached to the fuel price, Malawians are already paying exorbitantly on other expenses in terms of tax making the cost of leaving very high.

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