By Wisdom Ngwira
The Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) says Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) should make sure that it is open to the public on how it comes up with prices for various fuel products.
CAMA Executive Director, John Kapito said many fuel consumers are always left in the dark with regard to how fuel prices are pegged by the regulatory body.
He was speaking in Mzuzu on Thursday to northern region journalists during a combined MERA and CAMA awareness meeting on petroleum products.
“Fuel consumers have always not been told how MERA comes up with prices for various petroleum products which in the end has created a hostile atmosphere between the two parties as consumers have many times felt unfairly treated by the energy regulator,” said Kapito.
He said if MERA opened up on its fuel pricing systems to the public, it would clear its image as currently some quarters feel it dupes them on how fuel prices are arrived at in the country.
“The public needs to be told the general process of how fuel is handled so that they understand whenever there are price adjustments in the products.
“MERA usually uses press releases whenever it wants to communicate to the public. But we feel they should do more than just press releases. They should further explain in detail on how they come up with such crucial decisions that directly affect the consumers,” said Kapito.
MERA’s hired energy expert and economist on petroleum pricing, Odala Matupa said usually the decision to raise or lower fuel prices does not necessarily rest solely on MERA but that MERA only act on recommendations from the Liquid, Fuel and Gases committee.
“Basically what happens is that the committee sits down every month and looks at various global and national trends in the petroleum industries and after analyzing this, they give recommendations to MERA for action hence MERA just acts on those recommendations,” said Matupa.