Outspoken Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito has cautioned Malawians not to get excited by reduced pump prices of fuel and stabilisation of the kwacha, saying the developments are short-lived and have no impact on consumers.
In an interview on Thursday, Kapito who presented an eight-point petition to government over economic hardships in January, said on average, the fuel reduction was below two percent which is insignificant to influence commodity pricing in the country.
On the stabilisation of the kwacha which is trading around K380 from K420 to the dollar, Kapito said there is nothing for consumers to smile about.
He said: “I don’t know why there is anxiety over these developments. The current reductions are so minimal. There is nothing to smile about.”
Kapito said the consumption of fuel has reduced by about 50 percent because of high cost of living.
“People have resorted to walking. And there is no one who wants the dollars. The policies of the government are punishing people,” he reiterated.
On the further demonstrations Cama announced it was planning with consumers, Kapito said preparations are at an advanced stage.
He said consumers will hold rallies, vigils and demonstrations to force government to answer the petition and cushion the consumers from the burden of high cost of living.
Among others, Cama wants government to abandon the floatation of the kwacha, automatic pricing mechanism of fuel, reduce the size of Cabinet, auction ministers’ official Mercedes Benz vehicles and that Malawi President Joyce Banda and Vice-President Khumbo Kachali declare their assets.
But government has said it cannot stop floatation of the kwacha and that the President and her deputy will not declare their assets.
The consumers also want the President to reduce numerous internal and external travels and to increase salaries of all civil servants to cushion them from the devaluation of the kwacha.