Fuel price hike looms in Lesotho

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Petrol pump-677117By ’Mathabana Kotelo

 

MASERU — Last night’s fuel price increase in South Africa could have a knock-on effect on Lesotho with speculation that the Petroleum Fund Lesotho could announce an increase in the price of fuel soon.

The price of petrol and diesel in South Africa were increased by about 32 cents per litre while LP Gas price has increased by 22 cents per kilogram with effect from Wednesday midnight.

Illuminating paraffin at wholesale price was increased by 25 cents per litre while household consumers will pay an extra 34 cents.

The new prices became effective last night.

The price increase is likely to hit hard consumers who endured another fuel price increase last month. It is expected to trigger a fresh round of increases in the prices of basic commodities such as bread.

Petroleum Fund Lesotho has however not announced any plans to increase the price of fuel in the country.

The Fund is however expected to shed more light on the imminent fuel price surge this week.

It can be expected that this fuel price increase will affect Basotho consumers as well because Lesotho relies on South Africa for its refined petroleum product supply.

The upsurge can be attributed to the weak Rand/US Dollar exchange rate, high prices of crude oil used in producing petrol, diesel, paraffin and other petroleum products.

It is believed that although motorists are likely to feel an immediate blow as they will have to spend a lot more to fill up, consumers can also expect to feel the pinch as the prices of illuminating paraffin and LP gas used in households will also rise claiming more of their income leaving less to spend on food and other consumer goods and services.

Commuters can also expect to feel the pinch as a petrol price hike may further increase pressure on the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to revise taxi fares.

Maseru Region Taxi Operators (MRTO) spokesperson, Lebohang Moea, said that the current taxi fares were not competitive and were negatively affecting their businesses.

The increase in the price of fuel has led to diminishing profits for public transport operators.

“We are currently in the process of negotiations with the government over a much needed increase in taxi fares,” Moea said.

“We expect a comprehensive report soon detailing the suggested price increase, how it was decided and the factors taken into consideration so that both taxi operators and passengers can understand the reasons behind the fare increases,” he said.

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