5 October 2018

Malawi Effects 5% Hike On Fuel - to Have Knock-On Effect for Transport, Food Costs

Photo: Brian Dell
View east into Area 2 of Old Town Lilongwe, Malawi.

The Malawi Energy Regularly Authority (Mera) has increased fuel prices effective Saturday October 6 2018 a move that is likely to push up cost of transport, cost of living, goods and services, further hurting poor families.

The authority announced in a statement on Friday night that it had increased the pump price of petrol by 5.01 percent and diesel by 5.02 percent to reflect the rise in fuel prices on the international market.

According to the new price structure, petrol from Saturday, October 6, is now selling atK932.50 from K888.00 while diesel is to sell at K935.60 from K890.90 and paraffin will be sold at K755.30 from K719.30.

Mera chief executive officer Collins Magalasi said the increase will ensure there is enough resources to continue to import.

But motorists and public transport users are facing major economic headaches.

The knock-on effect will add to the pain with bus and taxi fares possibly going up too along with food prices.

The hikes come as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to Malawi has said the country's general economic performance is on track .

"Malawi's economy continues to grow while inflation remains on a declining trend. Moderate economic growth is likely to strengthen to about 4 percent in 2019, followed by a rise to 6-7 percent over the medium term," said the IMF Mission Chief to Malawi, Pritha Mitra.

She said inflation is expected to reach 9.5 percent at end of 2018 before gradually converging to around five percent over the medium-term.

Technically, inflation refers to the rate of the general rise or movement in prices of goods and services consumed in an economy. It is also defined as a general and sustained rise in the level of prices of goods and services.

President Peter Mutharika highlights the single-digit inflation rate among his administration's achievements in terms of economic management.

Economic commentators say stable inflation is one critical factor of macroeconomic fundamentals. It helps both individuals and businesses to make long-term plans. It is a factor towards an improved business environment alongside lower real interest rates.

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