Covid19: MERA to Review Fuel Prices
The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) says its fuel price review committee will meet soon to review the price of fuel in the wake of a decline in global prices owing to Covid19.
MERA chief executive officer Collins Magalasi was reacting to calls by commuter vehicle operators for government to consider releasing funds from the Fuel Stabilisation Fund to reduce fuel prices.
The order by the government for commuter vehicles to carry reduced numbers of passengers has seen operators complaining of making loses hence asking for a reduction in fuel prices, hence the request.
Chairperson of the Minibus Association of Malawi, Felix Mbonekera, told Zodiak transport fares will rise sharply in the wake of restrictions on allowable passenger numbers.
He suggested the best solution would be a reduction in fuel prices.
Dr Magalasi, however, said the Fuel Stabilization Fund is only meant for cushioning landing costs for fuel not otherwise.
“That’s not possible. The use of the fund is to cushion prices of fuel from where we buy up to the time it gets into the country. It is not meant for cushioning transports costs,” he said.
Nonetheless, he disclosed that the reduction in global fuel prices owing to Covid19 is likely to trigger a change in fuel prices on the domestic scene.
He said: “We normally meet the first week of every month. It is just a coincidence with the coronavirus issue. It is my hope that Malawians will receive whatever decision we are going to announce.”
On Monday, the international oil price dropped to US22.58 a barrel, the lowest in 18 years.
In a related development, spokesperson of the Reserve Bank of Malawi Mbane Ngwira is quoted in the Nation newspaper as saying ‘reading too much into the international trends could be misleading.’
He observed that in an instance where raw material cannot be imported into Malawi (due to the rising global travel restrictions), locally prices of manufactured good would be negatively affected.
On April 1 most commuter vehicle operators doubled fares after the government ordered them to carry nearly half the usual number of passengers as a means to curb the coronavirus.
Malawi on Thursday confirmed three cases of the virus: a 61-year-old woman who recently returned from India, her relation and her housemaid.