By KENNEDY MUPESENI –
THE instability in the fuel pump prices in the country will hurt small business because it will be difficult for business planning, Kitwe District Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KDCCI) vice president Lackson Ndhlovu has said.
On Tuesday this week, the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) announced the adjustment in retail fuel pump prices upwards by K1.30 citing increase in the international oil prices and the depreciation of the local currency.
Petrol has been increased from K11.67 to K 12.97, diesel is being sold at K11.09 from K9.87 and the new kerosene price is K7.82 up from K6.50 while Low Sulphur Gas (LPG) has been pegged at K13.38 from K12.16.
But Mr Ndhlovu has described the increment as unfortunate.
“The adjustment is unfortunate because it has come at a time when local businesses are struggling with the 75 per cent increment in electricity tariffs which were affected in May and September 2017 respectively,” he said in an interview yesterday.
Mr Ndhlovu said with the rising copper prices on the international market which are trading at US$7100 ,the business community expected appreciation of the local currency due to dollar inflow.
Before effecting any adjustment, the ERB should have looked into such factors because with the improvement in the copper prices, the fundamentals were expected to improve.
Mr Ndhlovu said the chamber anticipated nominal increments as the reasons ERB had given could not substantiate such an increment.
He suggested that ERB should be seeking cabinet approval before making any changes looking at the strategic nature of the business as it affected all human endeavors.