The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has increased fuel prices.
Mera announced the change in Lilongwe yesterday, attributing the development to fuel price changes on the international market as the main factor.
Mera Consumer Affairs and Public Relations Manager Fitina Khonje said the depreciation of the Kwacha was another factor that influenced the increase in the price of fuel.
The price of petrol has been adjusted upwards from K834.60 per litre to K899.20, representing 7.74 percent; diesel from K826.40 to K898, representing 8.66 percent; while paraffin will now be sold at K719.60, up from K613.20. This represents a 17.35 percent increase.
Gas has increased by about 4 percentage points, as the price has moved from K1,880 per kilogramme (kg) to K1,952 per kg.
Khonje said there had been a sharp increase in fuel and gas prices on the international market, hence maintaining the old prices would make it difficult for importers to bring the commodity to the country.
“This is a factor that is beyond the control of Mera in particular and Malawi in general. So, on the whole, that is why we had to adjust the prices upwards,” Khonje said.
She said, since the country adopted the Automatic Pricing Mechanism in 2012, the mechanism enables the country to adjust fuel prices when international prices for the commodity have changed by +5 or -5.
“This is to enable the country to continue importing fuel because, if the prices did not reflect the changes that are there on the international market, we will not be able to continue to import.
“So this is in the interest that Malawi should continue to import fuel because fuel is a strategic commodity as it drives many things in the economy,” Khonje said.
Khonje said the Price Stabilisation Fund could not always be used to maintain fuel prices.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.