Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (Moam) has disowned the upward adjustment of minibus fares by some operators in the country in an instant reaction to the average 22.8 percent increase in fuel pump prices.
In a statement yesterday, Moam secretary general Coaxley Kamange said minibus operators, especially those circulating purported new minibus fares, are just people who want to tarnish the image of the association.
He appealed to Malawians to remain calm as the association is engaging minibus operators and other stakeholders on the way forward.
Said Kamange: “We would also like to take this opportunity to inform the public that any written communication from our office bears our logo and signature of either the chairman or the secretary.”
He said the association will communicate to the public any new developments on the fares.
In 2012, the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) ordered Moam to stop engaging in anti-competitive business practices through regulating and fixing of minibus fares.
The CFTC established that there was a violation under Section 32 (1) and 34 (b) of Competition and Fair Trading Commission Act in relation to restriction and distortion of competition and price fixing in the minibus transport sector.
This week, some minibus operators hiked their minibus fares following a hike in fuel prices Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) announced on Saturday night which came into effect on Sunday.
According to our observations, most minibus operators have raised their fares with an average of K200, depending on the routes.
On the other hand, inter-city bus operators have been informing passengers of an impending increase in fares next week.
In an interview yesterday, a Blantyre-based operator Raphael Sayenda said that following the rise in fuel prices, he is supposed to raise fares for his minibuses to meet operational costs.
“I cannot wait for the association [Moam] or somebody to come and tell me what to do. The recent fuel increment is huge to me so I need to sustain my business,” he said.
On Sunday, ministries of Trade and Transport and Public Works issued a joint statement cautioning traders and minibus operators against exploiting commuters and consumers by raising prices due to the fuel price adjustments.
The joint statement signed by Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe and Deputy Minister of Transport Nancy Mdooko said both traders and minibus operators should reasonably respond to the fuel price increase. On Saturday evening, Mera chief executive officer Henry Kachaje announced an increment in fuel prices by an average 22.8 percent during a media briefing in Lilongwe.