THE reduction of fuel prices by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) is for political expediency by the Patriotric Front government, opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has charged.
Commenting on the decision by ERB to reduce fuel pump prices, Mr. Hichilema said the reduction in fuel prices should not merely be for political expediency, but should be part of a well-coordinated and bigger plan to address the weaknesses in the country’s economy.
He said a decent Government would come up with a plan which would enable the country grow its economy and reduce fuel prices further unlike what was happening now .
Mr. Hichilema noted with sadness that the PF in April this year increased fuel prices by over 7 percent, adding that the current reduction was too minimal.
“A plan to manage the economy which will not only enable us to reduce fuel prices further but also to keep them down. After all it was only April this year when prices went up by 7 per cent or more. We are aware that the prices of crude oil on the international market have significantly been reduced by almost 35 percent. This means the fuel prices could have been lowered further so as to significantly bring the cost of living and doing business down,” said Mr. Hichilema. He explained that his party stood on a platform of better management of the economy through reductions in fuel and food prices through better utilization of the natural resources available together with human resource.
Mr. Hichilema said if elected into government next month he would take some short-term measures to reduce the cost of living, including lowering the price of fuel, but at the same time take action that would lead to bigger price reductions in the long-term and that would keep prices down.
“We have always said investing in agriculture is the best way to bring down food prices, investing in education to equip our youths with the skills and training they need will help grow our economy, and create a more business friendly environment will lead to accelerated economic growth and job creation,” said the opposition leader. He said the announcement of piecemeal reduction in fuel prices would not help the people of Zambia because the cost of production was too high, adding that Government should realise that the removal of subsidies on fuel and maize was costly to Zambians.