Zambia’s oil marketing companies reaping huge profits

The purported study on falling oil prices internationally by the Energy Regulations Board (ERB) is hardly necessary because by now they should be addressing the issue of how to reduce the high pump prices on the Zambian market.

Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) executive secretary Samuel Simutunda said its current study was fake, unfair and time-buying to the consumer who was still paying high pump prices.

“It is irrelevant for ERB to undertake a study or analysis on a matter which is straight forward.

“The only issue here is to reduce the pump price of fuel in relation to the falling prices on the international market,” he said.

He said it was a known fact that fuel prices had gone down globally and the only oil marketing companies (OMCs) were benefiting from lowered fuel prices and were making high profits at wholesale markets.

The only course of action to be taken by ERB in relation to the falling crude oil prices on the international market was to reduce pump price in Zambia.

Mr Simutunda said the two major factors that influenced fuel prices were the stability of a country’s currency and the international crude prices.

“And  in case of Zambia, both support a reduction which must be effected as soon as possible,” he said

“We would like to find out from Government and the ERB executive director Langiwe Lungu to explain why they are not reacting positively to this reduction on the international market.

“We know for sure that not all the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) get their feed through the Ndola plant, and are making super profits by selling the cheaply acquired fuel at a high cost at the expense of the consumer,” he said.

He questioned why ERB was delaying the reduction of pump prices when they were known to move swiftly when it came to increasing fuel prices .

“If there is an increase, they do not take time to study or analyse the increment, but what is the problem when it comes to reduction?” he asked.

He accused the regulatory body of wasting time by studying the matter when there was nothing to consider other than just reducing the pump price of fuel for the consumers like it had happened in South Africa and Malawi.

There have been calls from various stakeholders for the ERB to effect a reduction in fuel pump prices because of the recent drop of up to about 20 per cent in the price of crude oil on the international market.