Malawi President Dr Lazarus Chakwera is vexed and feeling the pinch following the recent fuel price hike and therefore 'sincerely sympathizing' with all Malawians, State House has said.
Speaking Monday during a bi - weekly presidential briefing in Lilongwe, Director of Communications at State House Sean Kampondeni said President Lazarus Chakwera is saddened with fuel hike and really sympathizes with Malawians.
Kampondeni said much as the president wished the fuel pump price remained the same; the recent price hike was inevitable.
"The president is very sad and really understands the pain that this increase has on Malawians. An increase of this margin is not a small matter. This is something that affects Malawians, nobody should lie to you, an increase in fuel price affects all of us," said Kampondeni
However, Kampondeni stressed that government does not interfere in the operations of Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA).
"The president supports the independence of MERA. He doesn't influence the increase. He was fully briefed about the change and he supports MERA to continue working in a professional manner without political interference," he added
He said the president was briefed about the issue and that he does not to interfere in the operations of Government agencies such as Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) as long as they do their job.
Kampondeni said the President was fully briefed before the rising of the fuel prices.
Justifying the increase, MERA CEO Henry Kachaje said the average Free On Board (FOB) price for Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) which is used in determining the ruling retail price, increased in the month of September 2021 when compared to the price noted in the month of March 2021.
Kachaje said the FOB price increased by 11.84% from R12.77/ kg as noted in the month of March 2021 to R14.28/kg.
He further said since the last price revision in April 2021, the Malawi Kwacha has depreciated against the South African Rand by 4.63% trading at K59.74/ZAR from K57.10/ZAR.
Kachaje said MERA reviewed the combined effect of the movement of the LPG FOB prices and exchange rate of the Malawi Kwacha to the South African Rand and noted that the landed cost of LPG increased by 10.37%.
"Under the Automatic Pricing Mechanism (APM), LPG qualified for an upward price adjustment since the change in landed cost was noted to be beyond the +5% band. Therefore, the MERA Board resolved to revise upwards the retail price of LPG effective 10th October, 2021."