Commuters will have to dig deep into their pockets as Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (Moam) has increased minibus fares following Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera)’s upward adjustment of fuel prices yesterday.
Moam national chairperson Felix Mboonekera in an interview yesterday said the increase in fuel prices left them with no choice but to raise the fares.
He, however, said they are still discussing with some of their regional chapters on the matter before they officially issue a statement.
Said Mboonekera: “Right now, we are consulting with all the regional offices [Moam] to see how best we can effect adjustments on our part, so we will be coming up with our position probably in the next two days.”
Mera, in a statement issued on Wednesday and signed by its board chairperson Leonard Chikadya, indicated that effective Wednesday midnight, petrol would sell at K834.60 per litre (l), a 20.87 percent rise from K690.50/l.
On the other hand, diesel is selling at K826.40/l from K664.80/l representing a 24.31 percent increase, paraffin has jumped from K441.70/l to K613.20/l, representing a 38.83 percent hike.
But Mboonekera said the adjustments have come at a time when the minibus business is facing numerous challenges, including competition from kabaza taxi’s and the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said with the Covid-19 precautionary measures on minibus seating capacity, they have been making losses at times; hence, the increase in fares could not be avoided.
A notice from the Minibus
that some routes in Blantyre have increased fares by as much as 100 percent while others have almost tripled. Drivers Association showed
In separate random interviews yesterday, commuters expressed concern with the increased fares, saying the adjustments will trigger price increases of basic household items.
In an interview, a Chilomoni resident Dennis Makina, said the fuel price hike will likely deeply affect consumers.
In a separate interview, Grace Khonyongwa of Chimwankhunda also expressed fear that the adjustments will negatively affect consumers.
In his reaction on Wednesday evening, Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito described the increase as a sad development.
But briefing the media on Wednesday, Mera spokesperson Fitina Khonje, said: “Fuel prices have been increasing globally since May when we had a review. This has been eating into the price stabilisation fund.”
She said the prices were lower in May as there was no much economic activity globally due to lockdowns to avert further spread of Covid-19.