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Calls for spending cuts as fuel prices hiked

by Sunday Express
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Bereng Mpaki

MOTORISTS and the public have been urged to come up with innovate cost-cutting measures to off-set the negative impact of the ever-increasing fuel prices on their business and lives.

The call by the Consumer Protection Association (CPA) follows the latest fuel hikes that took effect on Friday.

In a recent statement, the Petroleum Fund announced a M0, 75 increase in the pump price of petrol 93 which means that consumers will now fork out M13, 95 per litre. Petrol 95 has also gone up by M0, 65 and consumers will now pay M14, 05 per litre.

The price of Diesel 50 was increased by 90 lisente to M14, 90 per litre and Diesel 500 increased by M1, 05 to M14,65 per litre.

The wholesale price of illuminating paraffin increased by M0, 85 per litre to M10, 55 per litre.

The latest fuel hikes comes on the heels of another massive hike less than a month ago when petrol 93 was increased by M0, 65, petrol 95 by M0, 70, Diesel 50 by M0, 80 and Diesel 500 by M0, 65.

Last month, illuminating paraffin was increased by M0, 45 per litre.

The rapid fall of the South African Rand against the US Dollar and the increase of free-on-board prices for petroleum products have been cited as the main causes for the fuel price increases. The Rand, against which the Loti is pegged at 1:1 exchange rate, is currently trading at 0, 068 to the US dollar.

CPA director Nkareng Letsie said Friday’s latest massive price hike calls for consumers to come up with innovate ways to reduce their spending on other things to ensure their hard-earned cash goes a long way as the prices of fuel and other petroleum products will continue increasing in the foreseeable future.

Mr Letsie said the fuel hikes were likely to spark increases in the prices of many goods and services due to the increase in the costs of transporting them into the country.

“This huge fuel price increase is not only going to affect fuel consumers only, we expect it will also have a negative impact on the prices of other goods and services we consume in the country because we are net importers of many products and services, Mr Letsie said.

“These products are transported by road to Lesotho. The logistical costs of importing these commodities will obviously go up due to the increased fuel prices. We are therefore expecting to have imported inflation.”

He said while there was very little that could be done about the fuel hikes, consumers could mitigate the negative effects of the fuel increases by way of forming carpools to and from work. This entails a group of commuters from the same area coming together to contribute money to buy fuel for one vehicle they will all use to and from work.

He said another way in which motorists could save on fuel consumption was to use public transport, cycle or walk to work.

Meanwhile, the Petroleum Fund has appealed to retailers to charge the approved prices as it is illegal to charge prices that are different from the gazetted ones. The Fund warned that retailers who charge prices that are above those that have been set will be liable to prosecution.

“There have been tendencies in the past by some retailers of charging prices that are above those that have been gazetted and this should not happen. Anyone found to be in contravention shall be prosecuted,” the Fund said.


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