Senanga Central UPND member of parliament Mukumbuta Mulowa this morning asked Minister of Energy David Mabumba to tell the nation what magic he used to keep fuel prices low during elections.
Mabumba then struggled to address the question, going into technicalities of why subsidies were removed but Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly told him not to stress himself too much but to answer the simple question of whether there was magic involved.
“Honourable minister, I appreciate your statement. There are a number of factors attributed to the fuel adjustments whether down wards or upwards. Now Madam Speaker, through you, I have observed with deep sorrow, pain and humiliation that when we are heading towards the elections, these factors, they seem not to come at play. What magic does this government use when we are heading towards elections to reduce fuel prices which cannot come into play now when we are four years towards the elections?” Mulowa asked Mabumba after he justified the fuel increment in a ministerial statement.
In response, Mabumba began to explain why fuel subsidies were removed.
“Madam Speaker, I want to refer my colleague to the same report which was submitted on the floor of this August House by your committee on estimates. The committee, Madam Speaker in the report also noted that extensive consultations and discussions were undertaken in 2012 with a review of removing the fuel subsidies, and last Madam Speaker, the decision was not made. In 2014 also, there were consultations also held unfortunately there was no decision that was taken and this is why Madam Speaker, after the elections of 2016 government took a bold decision going forward that we need to gradually migrate our pricing of our petroleum products to costly reflectivity, which means having to adjust them within 60 days depending on the performance of our kwacha as well as the global oil market prices and Madam Speaker from my report if my honourable colleague heard I have here, on page three in my report where I showed the movement in terms of petroleum product…,” Mabumba said before Namugala interrupted him.
“Honourable minister you are stressing yourself unnecessarily. The question is what magic? It was very straight forward, what magic the government uses, if there is no magic say so, if there is magic, let the honourable members know,” said Namugala.
Mabumba then told the House that there was no magic involved.
“Madam Speaker, in terms of my summary there is no magic because in terms of what I have provided from last year, we have reviewed fuel by six times according to the performance of the kwacha as well as the international market of prices. Thank you Madam Speaker,” said Mabumba.