The decision by the Ndola High Court to allow judicial review against the Chikopa Tribunal has brought a sigh of relief to the entire nation following the inconclusive and disappointing finding of the Supreme Court which suggested that the President was the final authority in “everything”.
The Government which has constituted the Tribunal owes the people of Zambia an explanation.
It should explain why delinquent debtors who owe K18billion should have the right to appeal to the President directly without seeking recourse to courts of law like everybody else.
It is not fair that Zambians who owe less money are subjected to all manner of haranguing while the bigger debtors are allowed the luxury and privilege of Presidential intervention.
It is our sincere hope that the Judicial Review hearing will provide a sound platform that will help the people of Zambia understand how and why delinquent debtors who fail to own up to their debts should ask State House to intervene in court matters.
Fuel commission of inquiry
Contrary to Government assertions Trafigura is neither reputable nor credible and yet this is the company that Government has given the responsibility of supplying fuel for the nation.
This was done in circumstances that are less than clear, in an act that can only be described as irresponsible.
This is not all; Trafigura now controls the lion’s share of our national oil supply network with filling stations dotted through out the country.
The super profit being made by Trafigura on the 237million liters of petrol and diesel is an indictment on Government responsibility to the people of Zambia.
Whoever allowed this to happen must be brought to account.
It is not fair that ordinary, poor Zambians should be made to pay extraordinarily high prices for products that could be sourced from more serious and reasonable suppliers.
If the experience from Malta is anything to go by then we should investigate this matter
Clearly nothing short of an open transparent and competent commission of inquiry will get to the bottom of the oil supply quagmire.
Everything is wrong about the current oil pricing. We have the highest priced petroleum products in the region and yet we source them from the same suppliers as our neighbours. Trafigura is an oil trading company which buys from the same sources as those that supply Zimbabwe and other neighboring countries.
Not only are the prices high, but all calculations indicate that the pump prices are well below the price to be paid to Trafigura.
If this is indeed true then it means that Government will require additional funding to finance the shortfall. This will for all practical purposes defeat the purpose for which the so called subsidies are being removed.The ideal situation, as exists in many countries is for the oil prices to be pegged to the international market allowing for automatic adjustments as and when prices shift. This is the position in South Africa which is a far much bigger economy than Zambia, prices are allowed to follow global trends.
Obviously we are in the very invidious position of being locked into a supply pricing system that has no provision for adjustment. There is absolutely no reason why our prices are 30 to 40 percent higher. Oil is the one single economic driver that has far reaching effects on our country. The recent increase has hit the nation right across the board with commodity and service prices escalating dramatically to the detriment of the poor and disadvantaged.Unlike those in formal employment who can negotiate a wage increase the majority Zambians are either in employment or menial agriculture or employed in non- formal employment. These are the groups of people un-able to mitigate the effects of price increases occasioned by the increases.It would therefore appear immoral for those with the means, to manipulate oil prices with the intention of meeting budget overruns for which they have no say or control.