By Iommie Chiwalo
The decision by the country’s energy regulator MERA has angered humanitarian organisation Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) saying will worsen the already poor living standards of the vulnerable Malawians.
The hard to be justified decision by MERA has come after Petroleum Importers Limited has started transporting fuel through railway corridor whereby the prices were expected to drop.
In a brief statement issued by CDEDI, the organisation expresses dismay to the midnight fuel price increase following, among other prevailing factors, the recent 25 percent devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa says that the fuel price hike is unacceptable, insensitive and an outright attempt to squeeze lives out of millions of poor and ultra-poor Malawians.
Namiwa feels the move is just among other government’s endeavours in pleasing International Monetary Fund (IMF), thereby conveniently crucifying millions of vulnerable and marginalized voters who are already struggling to make ends meet due to the ever skyrocketing cost of living, mirrored through the increase in prices of basic needs such as maize, cooking oil, water, electricity, sugar and bread, just to mention a few.
“Coincidentally, this is coming exactly two years of President Lazarus Chakwera’s regime, and the voters’ memories are still fresh that he promised to resign should he fail to fix the economy within two years of his tenure. This is probably the best time for the President to honour his promise,” he says.
The calls are coming in the absence of tangible measures to cushion the marginalized and vulnerable Malawians who are in majority.
“The austerity talk remains a mockery on the agony of the people. CDEDI is monitoring the situation and will soon issue a way forward as things continue to unfold,”
Consumers Association of Malawi Executive Director John Kapito has also expressed dissatisfaction with the move taken by MERA saying has detrimental effects on the lives of people as well as the economic growth.
On June 24 Malawians woke up with the news that petrol pump prices have been hiked by 44.92 percent from K1, 380 to K1, 999 and diesel from K1, 470 to K1, 920 representing an increase of 30.61 percent.