BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Malawi private sector has described the decision by Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) to hike the fuel prices as a punishment.
MERA last Thursday announced an upward adjustment of the pump prices which saw the petrol going up by 4.62 percent to K824.30 from K788.30 per litre while diesel went up by 6.8 percent K815.80 per litre to K766.90 per litre.
In an interview with The Nation newspaper, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira said the fuel hike is a punishment to the private sector considering that they are already making losses due to persistent blackouts which have left them with no option but to use generators.
“We feel like we are being punished. Otherwise the authorities could have known better the state of the economy that Malawi is in. The price adjustment especially on diesel will increase the cost of doing business in the country as a lot of firms are using diesel generators to address the electricity outage challenges that Malawi is facing,” he said as quoted in The Nation of Saturday 12 November, 2016.
Recently, the leather industry said they were losing more than K100 million a month due to power outages.
Commenting on the same, Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) project officer Maurice Nkawihe, said the fuel price adjustment will hit hard the consumers.
“We are well aware that the increase is expected to up the prices of goods and services. Already, some sectors of the economy have started effecting new prices on their goods and services.
“Considering the state of economy that Malawi is in at the moment, we feel consumers will find it hard to cope with these fuel hike impacts,” said Nkawihe in an interview with the local paper.
Malawi government introduced Automatic Price Mechanism (APM) in 2012, a policy which attracted criticisms from different quarters in the society.
Under the APM, a fuel pricing committee comprising Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority, fuel retailers and other stakeholders meet once a month to determine new fuel prices according to trends on the market.