THE Petroleum Fund says Lesotho does not subsidise petroleum fuel prices and consumers instead benefit from the country’s lower taxes charged on the products.
This was said by Petroleum Fund operations manager Lebohang Makhoali during the organisation’s recent national public awareness adding that Lesotho does not base its petroleum fuel prices on those of neighbouring South Africa.
The road shows are meant to raise awareness about the activities of the Fund as well as safety in the use of petroleum products. The Fund was joined by officials from the Ministry of Energy and Meteorology in the campaign.
The fund regulates the wholesale prices of petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin.
Addressing the public at a road show at Sefika Complex in Maseru, Mr Makhoali said many people are under the misconception that Lesotho’s fuel prices depend on those of South African.
He explained the fund has a board that sits monthly to determine whether fuel prices should be adjusted or not. The board communicates the price adjustments are communicated to the public through the media and the fund’s website.
Mr Makhoali said while the members of the South African Customs Union (SACU) have a common basic fuel price (BFP), their respective fuel prices slightly differed depending on the levies applied by each country on the products.
He said transportation costs that each country incurs to haul the products from the Middle East where they are sourced as finished products, also plays a role in determining the prices that each conutry sets.
“Many people assume that our prices are based on those of South Africa, and this is not necessarily so,” Mr Makhoali said.
He said fuel prices in Lesotho currently differ from South Africa prices by about M3 due to the higher fuel levies in South Africa as opposed in comparison to Lesotho.
“Sometimes we are surprised to hear our local radio stations reporting that fuel prices in Lesotho are automatically going to change just because those in South Africa change and they do this without checking with the fund.
“So, this campaign is meant to address such misconceptions that the public seems to have about our energy sector as well the fund. The intention is to roll out these road shows throughout the country,” Mr Makhoali said.
Meanwhile, Maime Leeto from the Ministry of Energy, said there were several safety precautions that the petroleum fuel users should heed for safe usage.
These include switching off car engines when filling up; not smoking near filling stations; not using cell phones near filling stations and not using soft drink containers to carry fuels among others.
Mr Leeto also said that indicated that motorists can conserve fuel by sticking to slower speeds while they can also drive in higher gears.
“Motorists can also save fuel by not overloading their vehicles because when a vehicle is overloaded, it consumes more fuel,” Mr Leeto said.
At the Maseru roadshow, some lucky members of the public walked away with prizes that included 20-litres of paraffin; M500 worth of grocery voucher, M500 worth of petrol voucher; an electric hot plate; paraffin and electric heaters, rechargeable lamps among others.