NDC President Dr. Chishimba Kambwili petitions Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to reduce fuel pump prices to cushion the social effects of COVID-19 on Zambian citizens
*Issued by Saboi Imboela*
Sunday 26th April 2020 – Lusaka
THE National Democratic Congress, NDC, says that the Energy Regulation Board, ERB, should reduce pump prices to help cushion the social effects of COVID-19.
The NDC president Dr. Chishimba Kambwili says that fuel pump price reduction and crude oil world over has become a trending phenomenal which should also benefit Zambians. This week’s global oil market prices have reduced following the COVID-19 pandemic encircling economic lockdowns in many countries, coupled with uncertainties within the OPEC agreement.
Cuban Crude oil prices had reduced by 69% from $69.58 – $21.57 per barrel and the Zambian Kwacha had only depreciated by 30% since December, when the last increment was effected.
‘We also recall vividly that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, in December, ordered a 20%, 15%, 10% salary cut from his salary, ministers and high earners in the civil service, respectively, and to channel funds towards reduction of local fuel pump prices in order to cushion harsh economic impact that citizens were experiencing. We hope the directive was not mere rhetoric,’ NDC president Dr. Chishimba Kambwili said.
He explained that NDC believed that those initiatives would help trigger social benefits to the Zambian people.
‘We strongly believe that the nation should have taken advantage of this fall in international crude oil to negotiate for a sustainable contract, as this may safeguard security of supply in the medium term to avoid further economic shocks,’ the NDC president said.
In as much as the economic fundamentals, in terms of the exchange rate of the kwacha against major convertible currencies, is not favourable, the triggering effect to reduce fuel pump prices is that the international crude oil prices, as a variable, reduced well above 2.5% to trigger a reduction, despite the depreciation of the kwacha.
‘As a party, we know that the drastic drop that occurred on the side of crude oil at international level should warrant reduction in fuel pump prices, since the oil reduction side has a huge negative mark in full comparison to the depreciation of Kwacha, which has only depreciated by about 30% and crude oil prices have dropped by 69% since the last increment,’ Dr. Kambwili said.
‘We also implore the PF government to consider removing fuel levy and suspending import duty on petroleum products in order to make this commodity cheaper for each and every Zambian, as the cost of doing business is made unbearable without any slight change in the fuel prices, contrary to the expectations of many Zambians,’ he asserted.
Some African countries such as Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, among many others in the southern African region have reduced their fuel pump prices ranging from 5% to 15% reduction.
‘Because of the above, we don’t see any reason why fuel pump prices should still remain high,’ the president stated.
‘As NDC, we are appealing to the ruling party to seriously reconsider their ERB’s position and reduce fuel pump prices,’ he said.