Energy Minister Mathew Nkhuwa has admitted that the Saudi Arabia fuel was indeed cheaper but justified that government could not reduce fuel pump prices in Zambia because the consignment was not enough and did not have much of an impact at all.
Last week UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema demanded that government refunds motorists who bought the cheap Saudi fuel at an exorbitant price instead of the promised K5.5 per litre.
But Nkhuwa says government cannot refund all motorists in Zambia for not buying the Saudi Arabia fuel at the promised K5.5 per litre because it does not make economic sense.
“Yes the fuel was cheaper if you compare it with other fuel. But really if you have got feedstock for five days, can you seriously reduce prices for five days and then thereafter you increase? It just didn’t make sense [for government] to do that. It didn’t make business sense because five days is nothing, unless maybe if the fuel lasted for maybe six months or something like that. But for five days, it doesn’t make economic sense, how do you just reduce and then tomorrow you up the prices again? You can’t do things like that,” Nkhuwa said in an interview.
He said the UPND president was merely politicking.
“It is not possible to refund all motorists, it doesn’t make any economic sense at all. It’s not possible that we can refund the motorists, we just can’t. Where would we even start from? It’s just not possible, you can start a Pandora box which will never work. So that talk by the UPND leader is just politicking, that is just political rhetoric.”
“The fuel was cheaper yes, but it didn’t make much of an impact because the fuel was little. We use $1 billion worth of fuel per annum, and when you look at $20 million, it’s a drop in the ocean. It’s like you take half a litre of sugar and you want to put in a swimming pool and expect to have sweet water from that swimming pool, it won’t happen. If you take even a 1kg of sugar and out it in a swimming pool, that water will never be sweet, you will never even feel it.”
Nkhuwa further said Zambians were very understanding people.
“Politics are for 2021, for now we should just be working. So really people should make their judgment and know who is fooling them. Zambians are very clever people. They listen, and that’s why they vote us in because they know that we mean well,” said Nkhuwa.