MINISTER of Transport and Logistics Frank Tayali says citizens are aware that government’s hands are tied with regard to the hike in fuel prices.

In an interview, Tayali said government was not happy with the prevailing situation, but nobody foresaw the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“The public is complaining that there is a hike but did you hear that the bus owners were also protesting that the hike was not sufficient? They did. So we have actually gone an extra mile to try and mitigate and not make it cost reflective. The bus owners are complaining and the citizens are complaining, so we try to find the middle ground when the stakeholders met. Let us not bring politics into these things. It is a cat and mouse situation where the global fuel prices and it is happening everywhere and Zambia is not an island. Let us act as Zambians first. We are a new administration. Nobody foresaw the war in Ukraine and that the fuel at global level would be the way it is,” said Tayali.

“Our job is to inform the citizens about what is taking place. So don’t they know that this is a global reaction? So to start talking about the obvious is like insulting the intelligence of our citizens. They are aware that their government right now, our hands are tied. And that we are not happy with the situation as it is obtaining. In order to have a situation where there is constant supply of the product, we ought to give those that are importing, the ability to import and make their margins. A consumer ministry, we are having to deal with a product that we do not control but we shall react to the global factors. Once the product is brought in, expensively, surely we cannot sell it below cost.”