Government has no immediate plans of reducing fuel prices despite falling oil prices on the international market because it is still using old stock, says Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya.

And Siliya says Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo and NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili were speaking as colleagues who have known each other for a long time in the recorded conversation that went viral, Tuesday.

Addressing a press briefing at her office in Lusaka, Wednesday, Siliya said it was not possible for government to reduce fuel prices drastically just because the price of oil on the international market had fallen.

“Even though the international oil prices have come down, what is currently being consumed in the country in terms of stock is stock that was bought at a time when the oil prices were high. And using the cost plus model, what the Ministry of Energy does through ERB in terms of procurement is basically look at the cost of fuel at that time, but also much importantly, the value of the Kwacha vis-a-vis the Dollar at that time and these are the two issues that affect the cost of fuel. A lot of citizens have been expressing concerns and rightly so that the international prices for fuel are down to about USD$54 or so. [So they are asking] ‘why haven’t the prices of fuel come down in Zambia?’ We will circulate that statement from the ERB, from the Ministry of Energy,” Siliya said.

“But the input of that statement is basically that the current stock being consumed was bought at a different time when the price of fuel internationally was high and the rate of the Kwacha to the Dollar was high. So using their basic cost plus model, they have to meet the cost of the actual procurement of the oil every time it comes into the country. So I though I should respond to that because it’s a question I have been getting the last two days. It’s been an online discussion for quite a while.”

Meanwhile, Siliya said Roan member of parliament Chishimba Kamwbili should have nothing to fear as he reports himself at Luanshya police station if he has not done anything wrong.

“Am not so sure that every time somebody is asked to appear before the police or whatever authorities [then] it must be an issue for discussion that ‘it’s because of this person or that person’. I am not so sure that that’s the way we should be looking at it. I think that when the authorities call each one of us to appear before them… and in this country no body has ever been exempted. Presidents have appeared before, ministers have appeared before police, politicians have been called to the police, ordinary citizens have been called to the police… so am not so sure that it should become an issue when somebody has been called to appear before the police. I think that when one has done nothing wrong, there is nothing to fear. I believe that sometimes police need to be allowed to do their work so that they can tell us what their findings are. That’s why they are there, they investigate, they follow up on issues. We must give the police time to do their work,” she said.

Asked what government was going to do about the recent incident where Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo and Kambwili exchanged bitter words in a phone conversation, Siliya said the two were talking as people who have known each other for some time.

“I think there are two things here. I think we must must separate two colleagues, two mates, two people who’ve known each other for a long time and talking to each other as colleagues. I think we really have to separate discussions of a personal nature by two people who have a long history from official discussions and positions of government. You are the media and you don’t live in a vacuum, you live in this country with all of us and you have to understand the complexion of certain discussions, especially these we see online,” said Siliya.