Tanzania: Fuel prices up by 7%

Motorists will have to dig deeper into their pockets starting on Wednesday following an increase in the cost of petroleum products by an average of almost 7.0 per cent as a result of world price changes.

The changes will affect Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) efforts to adjust public transport fares in the wake of widespread public outcry on the need to lower prices, following the drop in producer prices for the commodity in the world market in recent months.

Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) Director General Felix Ngamlagosi announced yesterday that the changes, both for wholesale and retail trade, would go up by between 6.0 per cent and 9.5 per cent.

EWURA attributed the changes to price fluctuation on the upward trend in February that automatically forced them to up the fare in the local market for both wholesale and retail customers.

“To a large extent, the upswing in cost has been caused by rising prices in the world market during February 2015,” said Mr Ngamlagosi in the EWURA statement issued in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.

Retail prices for petrol, diesel and kerosene have increased by 103/- a litre or 6.23 per cent, 109/- a litre or 6.98 per cent and 132/- a litre or 8.65 per cent respectively.

For instance, motorists in Dar es Salaam who drive petrol-fuelled cars will part with 1,755/- a litre instead of 1,656/- a litre, 1,672/- a litre from 1,563/- for diesel while kerosene users will pay 1,655/- instead of 1,523/- applicable a month ago.

Similarly, the wholesale prices for petrol, diesel and kerosene have increased by 103/01 a litre or 6.66 per cent, 109/05/ a litre or 7.48 per cent and 131/76 a litre or 9.29 per cent respectively.

SUMATRA’s Corporate Communications Manager David Mziray told the ‘Daily News’ yesterday that they were working on the issue to see the possibility of lowering public transport fares across the board.

“We are working on it and definitely the decision will reflect all other variables such as fuel prices,” Mr Mziray said. Some politicians have directed the regulator to lower fuel prices to effect the price changes of petroleum products. However, SUMATRA said price stabilities are also taken into consideration before announcing any changes.

“Probably next week, SUMATRA will announce their findings regarding price changes in the market,’’ Mr Mziray remarked. A renowned economist, Dr Honest Ngowi of Mzumbe University, dismissed the price change as ‘insignificant to be felt by both motorists and public transport users to avert any change into fare or spending pattern.’’

“The 100/- is not a significant change. It is not a big change. It will not change anything real, it is a small amount. It won’t be felt by users or sellers,” Dr Ngowi said on Tuesday.

He noted further that the fuel prices were fluctuating and when going down or up, people should not rush to demand some changes immediately rather than observing its stability.

“I said earlier that the prices would stay down and that is what is exactly happening now,” Dr Ngowi added. On Monday, oil prices fell as officials from Iran and six world powers discussed a possible deal over Tehran’s nuclear programme, that could bring an end to sanctions and allow an increase in Iranian oil exports to push price further down.

The prices at Brent dropped to 55.61 USD a barrel on Tuesday from 58.57 USD a barrel on the previous day.
Source: Daily News, reported by Abduel Elinaza, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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