Fuel hike denounced

Government has been challenged to explain to Zambians why it has allowed a third party to control the fuel prices in the country.
The government has also been asked to disclose the role the controversial Trafigula oil deal is playing in the escalating oil prices, when other neighbouring countries including South Africa are reducing oil prices
Political activist Dante Saunders said that there was no justification for government to increase the fuel prices and that it was not the first time government has made decision against the wishes of the people of this country.
Mr Saunders also charged that with this development it was clear government had no intention to ease the economic hardship of its people.
He blamed government for allowing Trafigula to be involved in the procurement of oil for the country when ministry of energy could get the crude oil direct from the suppliers.
Mr Saunders said it was surprising why government had kept quiet when the prices were being determined by external forces because there was no increase on the international oil market.
“We challenge government to explain why they are increasing fuel prices when the world market has not increased the floor prices.
“The government created this mess which it has now failed to rectify because a named minister was involved in the oil saga. Why is it that fuel prices in Zambia are the highest in the region, government need to seriously work on this,” Saunders said.
He said these unnecessary hikes were a hindrance to the economic growth of the country because the company entrusted to handle the procurement of fuel seem to be controlling the prices of fuel.
Mr Saunders said the coming of Trafigula on the oil market in Zambia was clear testimony that it had influence on the pricing of fuel in the country.
He said in his report Justice minister Wynter Kabimba said that government had lost about K2 trillion during the procurement of fuel but wondered whether this was not stealing directly from the people of this country.
‘The high fuel prices should be justified and it is not good to subject Zambians to such harsh conditions of living. This is the time that the labour unions should intervene as workers would be directly affected.
“This government want to make money but by stealing from the poor people. Mr Kabimba said there were a lot of problems on the importation of oil but has not yet explained what these problems were. This can only tell us two things either there is no corruption in the oil deal involving the former regime or government know the problem but has no zeal to act and rectify the issue,” he said.