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Fuel goes up tonight

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MBABANE — Fuel prices will go up by 45 cents per litre at midnight.
This was announced by Bertram Stewart who is the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy.

This means that a litre of Unleaded Petrol95 (ULP) will now cost E7.25 from E6.80.

In the same vein a litre of Lead Replacement Petrol (LRP95) will cost E7.30 from E6.85.
Stewart said fuel prices had been kept unchanged since July 2009 due to low crude oil prices and a favourable exchange rate that is the value of the Lilangeni to the US Dollar.

Stewart said since January 2010 the trend had been increasing and therefore necessitating change in fuel prices for all products.
The price of diesel will increase by 40 cents per litre and will now cost E7.45. Harry Nxumalo, Chairman of the Swaziland Fuel Retailers Association, said this had been the highest increase since 2008. Nxumalo echoed Stewart’s words saying that the last increase was effected in July 2009 it had been eight months since.

“We are grateful that the prices remained stable for so long but the increase was expected given the recent speech by both the local Finance Minister and his South African counterpart,” he said.
Paraffin users were also not spared as it has been increased by 30 cents and will now cost E5.70 per litre.

Stewart said the increase in fuel prices had also accommodated the hike in fuel tax as announced by Finance Minister Majozi Sithole in his budget speech and also increases in industry costs.

Stewart said the ministry would continue to monitor the situation closely and advised consumers to continue using fuel in a more efficient manner. In neighbouring South Africa the fuel prices were increased on Wednesday by 48 cents per litre. A litre of ULP in SA now costs E8.40.

...bus fares not affected

MBABANE — Public transport users need not panic as bus fares will not be increased just yet.
This was said by Duma Msibi, Chairman of Swaziland Commercial Amadoda Road Transportation Association (SCARTA).

Msibi said it was news to him that petrol prices had gone up but said the public should not panic because these increases would not affect the public transport users yet.
“We have not met to discuss it and it is a long process so the public need not to panic yet,” said Msibi. 

What the fuel hike means to you

MBABANE- Local consumers have been warned to be cautious with their spending habits in light of the imminent fuel hike.

According to the Chairperson of the National Consumer Association of Swaziland, Bongani Mdluli, the increase in fuel prices inevitably affects the consumer.
Mdluli said the retail industry is especially affected by increase in fuel prices.

“This indirectly affects the prices of commodities such as bread and therefore the consumer is impacted. We would like to urge consumers to live within their means,” he said. He said they are, however, surprised with the new developments because the local energy regulator had promised that it would consult with all relevant stakeholders on matters pertaining to energy. “It is surprising because we hoped that from then onwards we would give input on such issues because this affects consumers,” he added.

Though, he acknowledged that government has little control on the increase of prices because it is determined by international markets, government should however make means of cushioning the effects of the hike considering the current global economic situation.

“The poor are made poorer by these things and government must devise ways of helping the consumer. There are talks of belt tightening and reducing the government Wage Bill but at the same time government must find ways to ease the pressure on the consumer,” said Mdluli.
He also said he had suspicions on the timing of the price increase because it could be linked to the upcoming World Cup which will be hosted by South Africa.

“Investigations should be made into this because there could be elements of collusion by the producers and suppliers in order to also cash in on the World Cup,” he said.

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