Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) Centre Coordinator Chenai Mukumba has challenged the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to stick to its commitment of announcing fuel price adjustments every 60 days.
On October 17, 2017, ERB increased the retail fuel pump prices by K1 with Board vice Chairman Ng’ande Mwanajiti announcing that the Board would start adjusting fuel prices every 60 days when there were changes in the wholesale prices.
However, despite the fluctuation of the exchange rate, which normally has an effect on the international oil prices, ERB has not announced the revised pricing of the commodity after 60 days, not even to announce the continuation of the same.
Commenting on the matter in an interview with News Diggers! Mukumba said ERB should be consistence with its policy pronouncements because nobody asked the board to make the promise.
“I think we have mentioned it before that there is a lot of inconsistence in terms of how often ERB is announcing adjustments in prices. I think it’s important to announce not only hikes or decreases, for example right now they are not announcing because there has been no change but it’s important that they communicate what is happening to stakeholders so that they know what’s happening on the market,” Mukumba said.
“One of the issues that has been mentioned and it’s not only in the energy sector but in all sectors is that there is a lot of policy inconsistency and not just policy inconsistency but also adherence to the policies that government itself puts forward. I think that is a problem because if you don’t have policy consistence, you can’t have profitability in the market and if you don’t have profitability what that means is that all private sector players who are involved in a certain sector can not then effectively engage within the market. If you are saying you want to promote private sector growth and all of those things but you are not creating the enabling environment, then it doesn’t just hold up.”
Mukumba said the lack of inconsistence from ERB would also have a negative impact on consumers as they would fail be adhere with pronouncements made.
“Then also on the part of consumers, if the ERB is announcing fuel adjustments every two months, it then allows consumers to not only adjust but to also make sure that they are able to waive with the new price. So from our end, definitely number one we may demand that the ERB stick to their own commitments because nobody asked the ERB to start announcing fuel price adjustments every two months, they are the ones who said that they would do that. So they should stick to it because the sector needs that predictability for it to engage well,” said Mukumba.