Due to the recent increase in fuel prices, minibus drivers have demanded Consumer Association of Malawi to help them in voicing out their concerns to the government over the inconveniences the increment is causing.
Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) announced the increase of fuel prices on Friday, 6th October 2018, claiming it noted sustained high Fuel On Board (FOB) prices of oil on the international market and resolved to revise upwards pump prices of all the three products to ensure that importers are able to fully cover importation costs and to enable sustained flow of petroleum products into the country.
The increase in fuel prices has not gone well with minibus drivers in Blantyre, and they have asked MERA to voice out their concerns to the government on challenges they are facing due to fuel hike.
Dave Hamisoni and Christopher Kaliwo, minibus drivers for Nkolokosa and Chilobwe, respectively, said the hike has affected their business and they want MERA to help them voice out their concerns to the government.
“It is a difficult moment especially for us as minibus drivers for we rely on fuel daily. Fuel prices have gone up yes, but the bus fares are intact. Our bosses are passengers and since their salaries are the same it is difficult to raise the prices for minibus fares. We have no powers to ask for change since our cry is neglected most of the times. The top officials used to help us in these kinds of situations but they are quiet. The only option we have is to increase fares, which is a bad news to fellow citizens,” said Hamisoni.
“More have been said by that friend of mine. Sometimes customers ask for discount of the fares and we understand them because of the financial challenges we all face. The daily target of money for minibuses we drive is the same, but fuel prices have gone up,” Kaliwo concurred.
Blantyre City Council is responsible for the maintenance of infrastructures in the city, including roads, and minibus drivers contribute for such developments.
the drivers also said the fuel price hike adds to the existing infrastructural conditions more especially the road problems.
“Even BT City Council is not helping us either, you can even see the roads, potholes everywhere and they are not maintaining but we give them money every day. The City Council should also help us in maintaining the roads,” complained Hamisoni.
“The City Council is not helping us indeed as my friend has said. We pay our one hundred kwachas now and again, but there are still potholes everywhere and they are not maintaining,” Kaliwo added.