UPP leader Saviour Chishimba claims the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) intends to increase the price of fuel by 48 per cent.

But ERB consumer and public affairs director Agness Phiri says only the energy regulation body has the authority to announce increments.

In a statement yesterday, Saviour said he had information that government would impose the increment by the end of the week.

“They want to impose the 48 per cent increase in the fuel pump prices, we know that this is part of their 2016 plan. But I hope that PF will rescind the decision and this is the reason why we are even speaking out before they do it, we are hoping they will think twice,” Chishimba stated.

“We in the UPP seriously urge the PF regime not increase the pump price of fuel by 48 per cent this week. We pleaded with government in December, 2016 not to increase the pump price of fuel to k21 per litre and we were happy that our advice was headed to. Nonetheless, it would appear to us that whenever the PF regime decides on a particular course of action, it leaves no room for counsel on issues that affect Zambians. The 48 per cent increase, as e have learned from our sources, will bring past what we exposed last year.”

He said the increase would worsen people’s living standards.

“The people of Zambia are already struggling and aggregate demand in our economy continues to drop. The high electricity Harris and fuel will push the cost of essential commodities upwards and this will be catastrophic for families in the country,” stated Chishimba.

But Phiri, who could neither confirm nor deny Saviour’s pronouncement, said only the ERB had the authority to announce increments.

“It is only the ERB which has that authority to announce any changes in the prices which are made. And at such a time when the prices are changed, we will definitely announce and everyone will be aware,” said Phiri.