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Demand spread for cautionary measures against fuel price hikes

There are wide spread demands by members of the public for the authorities at Capital Hill to put in place control measures against the sporadic rise of fuel prices on the market.

This follows an announcement by the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) of another rise in fuel and electricity prices effective on Friday morning.

Early last month, MERA had raised pump prices for fuel only to rescind its decision less than two hours after the prices had come into effect.

The development has hit consumers hard as the current cost of living is already too high for most poor Malawians.

Members of the public affairs committee (PAC) say just as the government subsidizes the price of fertilizer it can also put some control measures when it comes to an increase in the price of fuel.

“There must be mitigating interventions regarding the cost of living for the local Malawians. Because, while the government may say we have no choice but to raise the prices of fuel and electricity in the country, we are saying, what is the mitigating factor to all this? Because the one who is to shoulder the burden of all this is the local Malawians,” PAC spokesperson Maurice Munthali told Capital fm.

“If it is that the Automatic Price Mechanism of Fuel, does it resonate well with the income of a local Malawi. Otherwise we could opt for a control or safety measure-where they country says yes this is what the prices are at the international market but our economy may not stand up,” said Munthali.

High Cost of living

Meanwhile, People in the country are expressing fears that escalating fuel and electricity prices would have a knock-on effect on the prices of essential goods and commodities.

This they say will have a negative bearing on their daily lives, considering the tough economic situation most people are already going through.

“ With the fuel prices increasing, minibus fares might go up, prices of basic commodities and other goods and services or go up but most people’s salaries are yet to be revised. Where does the government this we are going to get the money for that. This is too much. Life is becoming so unbearable,”said a woman in the streets of Blantyre.

The Joyce Banda administration introduced the Automatic Fuel Price Mechanism, which has seen and will continue to see prices of fuel changing every month depending on the strength of the Kwacha against foreign currencies such as the dollar, and the fuel prices on the international market.

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