Minibus passengers will have to dig deep in their pockets as Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (Moam) has increased fares by 10 percent effective yesterday.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Moam general secretary Coaxley Kamange said the increment is a result of the upward adjustment in fuel prices that Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) announced on Monday.
He said: “If you look back to when Mera previously adjusted fuel prices, we as minibus owners did not raise our fares. So, this time we just had to increase the fares because mind you, the fuel increments have been happening when we are also carrying fewer passengers due to Covid-19 restrictions.”
Kamange said the cost of services has also gone up which has negatively impacted on Moam members’ businesses.
But minibus passengers said in random interviews that the fare increases are unfair because some minibuses still carry more passengers than recommended.
In an interview yesterday, a restaurant owner from Zingwangwa Township, Mary Jali asked Moam to consider revising the increments.
On his part, a shoe vendor from Blantyre’s Chilomoni Township Patrick Nzeru said there is need for government to cushion Malawians from such effects.
He said: “We knew that this would happen but government should protect us ordinary citizens from such impacts. This raise in fuel and minibus fares will obviously trigger an increase in prices of goods and services as well.”
Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito in a separate interview yesterday said the rationale for increasing minibus fares by 10 percent does not make economic sense.
He said: “To begin with, the law on competition and fair trading in Malawi does not allow associations to collude in fixing market prices. One wonders where the 10 percent increase is coming from when fuel has gone up by seven percent? Are minibus operations only limited to fuel?”
W h e n c o n t a c t e d yesterday, Competition and Fair Trading Commission spokesperson Innocent Helema asked for more time before commenting on the fare increment.
I n a s t a t e m e n t announcing the fuel price hike, Mera attributed it to rising global oil prices