ENERGY Minister Peter Kapala has maintained that government will no longer be involved in the procurement of fuel starting June, and will only be regulating prices and collecting taxes.
In an interview, Kapala said government would regulate prices because Oil Marketing Companies had been exploitative.
“What will happen now is if you want to import fuel, we agree on a price because we are going to benchmark you. These companies have really exploited government, they have overcharged us badly. So, we have set a benchmark whereby if you come and say you want to import fuel, we will say ‘we will only allow you to import it at this much’ when you bring it in, you will sell it yourselves, government doesn’t buy it, government just regulates and collects taxes only. Right now, we import fuel in dollars and then we sell it in Kwacha. [Previously] if the contract is in dollars, we start buying dollars from banks to pay you. Now you will sell in Kwacha and buy your own dollars,” Kapala said.
“We are not going to get involved, we will just collect taxes starting from June. That is what will happen. Because there was an outcry that the period was too short. There was Christmas, people couldn’t place orders, there was Covid. So that made the government extend the quotation to June. Then after June, everybody (Oil Marketing Companies) would have been given enough time.”
And Kapala said the Energy Regulation Board was expected to review fuel prices.
“ERB is supposed to announce whether fuel will come down or up. We will be reviewing every month depending on the international market’s petroleum products. In the past we used to make a mistake of waiting the whole year, now it will be a monthly review, it is actually due,” said Kapala.