Role play­ers, Trea­sury to meet over fuel prices

Cape Times - - NATION - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI | Siyabonga

EN­ERGY Min­is­ter Jeff Radebe be­lieves a re­port next week on the fuel price in­crease will be able to mit­i­gate fu­ture steep in­creases.

The De­part­ment of En­ergy and Na­tional Trea­sury will meet with the pe­tro­leum in­dus­try to look at mea­sures to bring down fuel prices.

Radebe said yes­ter­day oil prices were out­side their con­trol. The rand has been los­ing value for some time and the in­crease in fuel prices by oil pro­duc­ing coun­tries was hav­ing a neg­a­tive im­pact lo­cally.

Radebe said they were also con­sid­er­ing putting a max­i­mum price on unleaded petrol. But these mat­ters will be dus­cussed by the de­part­ment with the pe­tro­leum in­dus­try next week.

One of the mea­sures is to cap the price of fuel to cush­ion the poor, but more de­tails will emerge later.

Radebe said they were con­cerned about the se­vere im­pact on the poor and how the gov­ern­ment can in­tro­duce mea­sures to mit­i­gate the in­creases.

Radebe has linked the fuel price in­creases to the rand-dol­lar ex­change rate, but said he hoped the cur­rency will sta­bilise now that new Fi­nance Min­is­ter Tito Mboweni is at Na­tional Trea­sury. The mar­kets were al­ready re­spond­ing pos­i­tively to Mboweni’s ap­point­ment, he said.

Radebe said the gov­ern­ment was con­cerned about the rise in oil prices.

“The pres­i­dent asked the clus­ter to look at how to cush­ion the poor. Last week the de­part­ment started the con­sul­ta­tion process (on) what the im­pact will be to set a max­i­mum price for 93 oc­tane.

“We are deeply con­cerned, that is why we are look­ing at all op­tions,” said Radebe.

The con­sul­ta­tions they have, he said, will be able to point them in the right di­rec­tion. Re­cently, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa vis­ited Saudi Ara­bia on an in­vest­ment drive where that coun­try also promised to help build an oil re­fin­ery.

Saudi Ara­bia is a lead­ing oil-pro­duc­ing coun­try, and re­cently US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump warned it about es­ca­lat­ing prices and not in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion. Saudi Ara­bia had com­mit­ted to in­vest R140bn in South Africa and most of the in­vest­ments will go into the en­ergy sec­tor.

Ramaphosa had also an­nounced a task team to deal with the in­crease in petrol prices.

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