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Fuel price hike bites

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By Wezzie Gausi & Jarson Malowa

Passengers in some parts of the country have expressed worry over the increase in prices of petrol, diesel and paraffin.

On Wednesday, the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) announced that it had raised the price of fuel by an average of 34 percent.

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This means the price of a litre of petrol jumped by 44.92 percent from K1,380 to K1,999, with the same quantity of diesel fetching K1,920 from K1,470, representing a 30.61 percent hike.

The price of paraffin surged from K956 per litre to K1,236 per litre, with Mera Chief Executive Officer Henry Kachaje indicating that the hike was due to a rise in Free On Board price and movements in the exchange rate regime.

He also cited the recent 25 percent devaluation of the Kwacha among the reasons.

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Following the development, minibus operators have raised bus fares for passengers travelling to different destinations in the country.

In Blantyre, minibus operators have raised the fare on the Limbe-Mibawa route from K300 to K500.

“This is too bad,” said a passenger identified as Mary Kapwepwe.

In Lilongwe, one of the concerned passengers, Victor Makawa, described the situation as “unfortunate”.

“What has happened is akin to a double tragedy to us, business people. There is already an increase in prices of goods and services and, now, we are having bus fares going up. We don’t know how we can breathe with the situation at hand,” Makawa said.

According to the chairperson for minibus drivers at Lizulu rank in Lilongwe Stanley Hauhau, a one-way trip from Lilongwe to Nkhotakota will now be costing K9,000, up from K7,000.

Passengers travelling to Kasungu from Lilongwe will now be paying K5,500 from K4,000, while, for the Lilongwe-Ntchisi route, the fare is pegged at K4,500, up from from K3,000.

From Zomba to Blantyre, people are now paying K4,000 from K3,000.

In Zomba City, the fare for the one-way trip from Chinamwali to Matawale is costing the commuter K500, up from K400.

According to Zomba Chinamwali Taxi Operators Chairperson Abdul Dyton, this is because of the fuel price hike.

“We, at first, started with K600 per head but we have noted that the fare is very much on the higher side,” he said.

One of the lorry operators in Zomba, Maliko Sakanda, lamented the development, saying it would negatively affect their businesses.

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