OIL Marketing Companies Association of Zambia (OMCAZ) president Dr Kafula Mubanga says his association hopes that fuel pump prices will either be maintained or reduced this month.

In an interview, Dr Mubanga hoped that government was working towards alleviating the escalating prices, noting that other governments, world over, had put in place measures to cushion the prices.

“World over there are policies that government has put in place. I will give a classic example of a new directive by the Nigerian government to reduce oil by about 0.4% on diesel and 0.5 % on petrol to make sure that the impact is cushioned. We only hope that this government is working to alleviate the escalating pricing. We hope that there will be no further increment. It is very saddening in most cases to see that every drop change directly affects the cost billing. Yes, we understand the measures that government has put in place but can only hope that this month will have a cushionable margin for the pump price,” he said.

“We hope that it will not escalate, we hope that it is either maintained at the same price or it will be able to reduce following other countries’ formulas that they have used to make sure that there is a bit of cushioning on the pump price. We don’t expect to increase every month, there are certain positive side effects that should positively affect the price structures.”

And Dr Mubanga said the Energy Regulation Board should stop crying foul that OMCs were hoarding petroleum products but begin to formulate policies that would curtail the vice.

“It is sad to hear that ERB is actually crying out that some OMCs are holding on to stock. The question is what measures have we put in place to ensure that this process does not continue to lead into extorting Zambians? What has been done to ensure that we curtail the process? There is no policy that directly speaks to it, no constitutional consultation have [been] taken regarding how we regulate some of these components. Some of us are advocates of this particular change but you find that when policies are made you just call the multinationals,” he said.

“The multinationals what will they tell you, these get a lot of money and at the end of the day, we keep crying. It is very sad to see this process reoccurring and yet we are in government and we can make policies to protect ourselves. So we urge ERB to stop the crying, let ERB begin to implement policies to protect the subsector, protect Zambian people. This is why His Excellency has appointed a board; this is why His Excellency has appointed the acting DG now to be able to be think-tanks, to inculcate solutions that permanently protect the subsector.”

In a statement, Monday, the Energy Regulation Board and the Competition and Consumer and Protection Commission warned against hoarding of petroleum products by some OMCs.

“The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) and the Competition and Consumer and Protection Commission (CCPC) have cautioned Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and retailers of petroleum products against hoarding of petroleum products; showing undue preference to, or discriminating against any particular person(s) with regard to the provision of petroleum products or services. Such practices are in breach of license conditions as spelt out in the license to retail petroleum products as provided in the Energy Regulation Act No 12 of 2019,” the statement read.