The Jesuit Center for Theological Reflections (JCTR) has urged government to locally accelerate the process of exploration and production of oil as this will increase supply of oil and henceforth reduce fuel prices.
The center says reduced fuel rates would cushion Zambia from the high cost of living due to the fact that fuel is a major determinant.
The center also is expecting local producers to increase commodity prices as they try to cushion themselves against increased cost of production instigated by increased fuel prices.
The center says in the process the consumer will pay the brunt of fuel hike.
In a statement issued to Money FM News, the center laments that amidst high cost of living the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) on 2nd October, 2018 announced an upward adjustment in fuel prices by K2.31 per litre of petrol, K2.61 per litre of diesel and K2.49 per litre of kerosene, due to changes in the fundamentals that determine fuel prices.
The statement says the importation of oil dominates many other expenditures and forms a major part of Zambia’s import bill.
“With regards to increased economic activities in the country, national consumption of oil has increased. It is for this reason that JCTR expects adjusted fuel rates to negatively impact the prices of essential goods and services such as food, water, sanitation, electricity, health care and housing,” read the statement in part.
JCTR also urges government to enhance transparency when procuring petroleum feedstock in accordance with the provisions of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority.
“Indeni Petroleum Refinery Limited financial structures must be enhanced and strengthened to allow for efficient purchase of petroleum. Indeni should have a provision for reserves that can be used to stabilize fuel prices locally when international prices increase,” said JCTR.
And the September 2018 JCTR Basic Needs Basket (BNB) for a family of five living in Lusaka which stood at K5356.36 was K46 less than the August BNB which stood at K5, 402.31.
Significant changes in prices were noted in Kapenta which decreased by K42 from K229.75 in August to K188 in September per kg. Charcoal decreased by K25 from K165 in August to K140 in September per 90 kg bag.
Dry bream fish increased by K8 from K124 in August to K132 in September per kg. As can be seen from the BNB survey, even with the noted reduction, the cost of living has remained high and below incomes of many Zambians who continue to struggle to access basic needs of life.