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Fuel prices hiked

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

THE Petroleum Fund Secretariat has increased prices for all petroleum products in line with global market prices.

Effected on Friday, the latest increases will see motorists paying M0, 80 more for all varieties of petrol and diesel. The price increases are also likely affect households in the upcoming winter with paraffin prices also going up.

The Petroleum Fund Secretariat announced on Friday that the pump prices for petrol93 and petrol95have been increased by M0, 80 from M10, 65 to M11, 45 per litre. The pump prices of diesel500 and diesel50 were also increased by M0, 80 per litre from M12, 15 and M12, 40 to M12, 95 and M13, 20 respectively. The wholesale price of illuminating paraffin has been hiked by M0, 65 per litre from M8, 35 up to M9. 00.

“The Petroleum Fund Secretariat wishes to inform the public that the prices of petroleum products will be increased effective from Friday, April 5, 2019,” a statement from the petroleum fund reads.

“The pump prices of both grades of petrol (petrol93 and petrol95) will be increased by 80 lisente per litre and the pump prices of both grades of diesel (diesel500 and diesel50) will also be increased by 80 lisente per litre while the wholesale price of illuminating paraffin will be increased by 65 lisente per litre.”

The Petroleum Fund said the main reason for the increases has been the rise in market prices for the petroleum products, which have resulted in under-recoveries of the bills.

The Petroleum Fund further warned retailers against charging ungazetted prices saying that perpetuators of such an act would be prosecuted.

“The Petroleum Fund wishes to appeal to all retailers to charge proper prices because it is illegal to charge prices that are different from the gazetted ones. There have been tendencies in the past by some retailers of charging prices that are above those set, this should not happen and any retailer who will be found in contravention of this, shall be prosecuted accordingly. The public is further made aware that there is a toll-free number to which any non-compliance can be reported and this number is 80022004,” the statement reads.

Meanwhile, the the Petroleum Fund operations manager, Lebohang Makhoali recently alluded to the fact that porous and undermanned boarder gates could be costing Lesotho lots of revenue in unpaid levies on petroleum product imports.

In an interview with this publication, Mr Makhoali said even though the amount of the loss was not yet known, there were fears that more fuel was being imported by the “white pumps” dealers to avoid paying levies to government.

He said that white pumps were fuel channels which are not branded or do not affiliate with the main licenced outlets such as Puma and Engen.

“There is fear that white pump dealers are sneaking fuel into the country without paying due levies. We cannot even estimate at the moment how much money the government could be losing in unpaid fuel import levies because there are no records on the amount of petroleum products, they (white pumps) are importing. There is no tangible evidence but we have reason to believe that the practice is common especially in the South where most of the unbranded outlets are found,” Mr Makhoali said.

Mr Makhoali said a task force made up of representatives from the Lesotho Revenue Authority, the Petroleum Fund and the Department of Energy would investigate the possibility of petroleum products being imported into the country without following proper procedures.

He added that measures would be made to include the white pumps outlets in the licencing regulations to ensure that they comply with the regulations.

Mr Makhoali said fuel prices increase was in line with those in South Africa.

In February the South Africa Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni announced that fuel prices would increase by 29 cents a litre in the case of petrol and 30 cents a litre diesel.

Dr Mboweni attributed the fuel price hikes to higher international oil prices and a weakened rand which he said was putting pressure on the fuel price equation.

And Mr Makhoali said fuel prices were bound to increase as all the external factors for fuel hikes were common to all the oil importing countries.



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