Motorists scrambled for cheaper fuel last night in the country’s major cities following the sudden increase in prices effective midnight.
Spot checks by Capital FM and netizens have found that last night, most pump stations were jam-packed as motorist engaged in panic buying.
Those that spoke to Capital FM disclosed that they wanted to fill their tanks before midnight when the new prices took effect.
According to the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority-MERA, the new price of petrol is now at K834.60 per litre from K690.50 per litre representing a 20.87% price increase.
Diesel is now sold at K826. 40 per litre from K664.80 per litre representing 24.31% price increase.
The price of Paraffin has also gone up from K441.70 per litre to K613.20 per litre representing a 38.83% increase.
This has created panic among motorists and the travelling public who had already planned for their festive season travels.
The Consumers Association of Malawi-CAMA has since described the fuel price increase as unacceptable.
“I am not surprised that the prices have gone up at all, the only thing that am surprised about, is that MERA has made this statement after a long period when they are allowed by law to be revising or reviewing the prices of petroleum products every month, if it was done on a monthly basis the impact that this is going to have on consumers would have been minimized,” said John Kapito CAMA’s Executive Director.
Kapito argues that the adjustment should have been effected gradually not at once.
But MERA’s Consumer Affairs & Public Relations Manager Fitina Khonje justifies the hike, attributing the increase to the depreciation of the Kwacha to the Dollar and increase in landing costs.
“We can’t keep the prices lower when the prices at which we are buying the product is increasing,” Khonje said.
Khonje added that there have been a lot of price changes between now and the last time the MERA reviewed the prices.
Last time the fuel prices were reviewed, was in May, a month before the historic election that put the Tonse Alliance into power.
According to the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the Kwacha is as of today trading at K756.68 to the United States Dollar.
This is higher than the K730.74 at which the local currency traded to the Dollar in May this year.
Meanwhile, members of the public continue giving mixed reactions to the fuel price hike.