ENERGY Minister Peter Kapala says government will remove all subsidies on fuel by the end of June.
Recently, Finance and National Planning Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane said government was already subsidising the price of fuel by removing some taxes and it could do more than that because it would negatively affect other sectors.
Dr Musokotwane was referring to the suspension of customs and excise duty on the importation of petroleum products.
And in an interview, Kapala said government would not continue subsidising fuel beyond June.
“By the end of June, remember we are saying we are not going to continue subsidizing fuel, isn’t it? So those are the tax waivers that we are talking about. I cannot predict what is happening boss, you know that. We don’t mine oil to start with, so the world market predicts what we should charge. The major thing is to ensure government debt does not rise as before. We are trying to ensure that government debt does not increase further than what it is. I am sure you agree with me that is the right way of going. So we need everybody’s help to ensure that government’s debt doesn’t grow, ” he said.
When asked whether government’s decision to remove tax waivers would see a spike in fuel prices, Kapala said the price of fuel would depend on the situation on the ground at that particular time, but government would intervene if prices began to escalate.
“No, it will depend, we will watch the fuel prices, if there will be any interventions to be made, we will intervene. We will intervene if we see prices spiraling out of control, we will definitely intervene. It could be as and when these things happen, we can intervene. We are hoping that looking at the signs, we could be okay. Because was it not four days ago the price of petroleum products dropped a bit? So we could be okay. So by the end of June, but we can intervene when the disruption demands,” he said.
“Remember we are negotiating for bulk buying, so that will help the country greatly, everybody has been complaining about removing middlemen, which we have listened to and we are going to see to it that middlemen are removed once we sign these government to government procurement issues. This takes a bit of time, but we are working on it. Don’t you want to send your children to free schools?”
He said government was approaching the fuel situation with an intention to reduce the cost of the commodity.
“You get all that all the time, you cannot get everything, everybody saying yes, people have got different views about how to approach a situation. We are approaching it in such a way that we help reduce the cost as much as possible, that is our approach. Others may take it differently,” said Kapala.