BLANTYRE--Malawi motorists were surprised to learn that fuel prices were reversed a day after they were about to start paying one litre of petrol at K570.20 from Thursday, October 4, from K539 since the last hike in September, representing a 5.79 percent.
At few filling stations which were operating in the commercial capital Blantyre, fuel attendants simply told bemused motorists that they were to pay yesterday's price.
"It's a directive from the top," said one fuel attendant, who said "don't mention this to anybody." Blantyre Fuel Attendant
"It's a directive from the top," said one fuel attendant, who said "don't mention this to anybody."
It wasn’t clear who made the directive, but political sources said this came from the president herself as she feared political repercussions, in view of the two bye-elections in Mzimba on Tuesday. The elections will be the first political test for the PP.
Despite the reversal, fuel was still in short supply in many parts of the country on Thursday. Maravipost
Despite the reversal, fuel was still in short supply in many parts of the country on Thursday.
In announcing the new prices, the Malawi energy Regulatory Authority said the new prices were in line with the Automatic Pricing Mechanism (APM).
Mera said in a statement that diesel has jumped from K434.30 a litre to K469.90, an 8.20 percent increase.
Paraffin for the industry will now be selling at K469.90, from K434.30, an 8.20 percent increase, while paraffin for domestic and which is used by millions of poor villagers, remains at K171 per litre.
Mera said that it had considered recent trends in the world petroleum products prices and other macroeconomic fundamentals to raise the prices.
"Since the last pump price revision of 7th September 2012, average FOB prices on the international market increased by 1.05% and 2.50% on diesel and paraffin respectively. During the same period average FOB prices for petrol slightly declined by 0.56%," Mera said.
Mera said the exchange rate of Malawi Kwacha to the US Dollar has depreciated by 6.73% over the same period of time from K288.99 to the USD Dollar noted on 7th September 2012 to K308.45 to 1US Dollar on 2nd October 2012.
"A combined effect of the FOB prices and the exchange rate of Malawi Kwacha to the US Dollar has resulted in increased landed cost for petrol, diesel and paraffin by 5.66%, 7%, and 8.12% respectively," it said.
Energy sources told MaraPost Thursday the Joyce Banda administration ordered the reversal because the constant increases in pump prices of fuel was making it unpopular.
"People are hurting, constant increases in fuel prices may not endear the government to many," Energy Official
"People are hurting, constant increases in fuel prices may not endear the government to many," he said.
MERA has mean been locked up in a day-long meeting throughout Thursday.
Raphael Tenthani contributed to this report. (c) The Maravi Post 2021. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited