Mwanakatwe explains fuel hike
GOVERNMENT has decided to increase the price of fuel because it needs more Kwacha to buy the United States dollar to import the commodity, Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe has said. Ms Mwanakatwe said not all products and services would be directly impacted by change in fuel price hence their prices were expected to remain constant. Ms Mwanakatwe was speaking when she was chief guest at the Africa CEO Forum in Lusaka yesterday. She said the Kwacha had generally performed well from January until most recently when it suffered a setback and lost ground against the U.S. dollar and other world currencies. The price of fuel per barrel in recent years has been going up and that Government endeavoured to cushion the public against this impact but that it could no longer do so, she said. “We should always bear in mind that we are buying a commodity that is not Kwacha priced, it is priced at dollar so we always have to find the Kwacha to buy the commodity, in buying the commodity we should also bear in mind that per barrel price has been going up “So here is a commodity which has been rising in price and Government has been cushioning the public at large with that increase but how much more can you cushion? It is difficult. That is why we had to put the price up yesterday (Tuesday) to make sure that we have the Kwacha to pay for fuel importation,” she said. Ms Mwanakatwe said Government and the Bank of Zambia were doing everything possible to cushion the Kwacha against the strengthening of the dollar through the law of supply and demand. She prodded the private sector to produce goods and services for export to enable Zambia earn foreign exchange. The event attracted several people from the business world.
We should always bear in mind that we are buying a commodity that is not Kwacha priced,” — Margaret Mwanakatwe.