Fuel Hike Again

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK – While consumers are yet to recover from the festive season and other school related expenses, they will be required to pay more for fuel. Fuel prices will this Wed-nesday, January 18, go up. Both unleaded (95) and lead replacement petrol (LRP 93) will go up by eight cents a litre, while diesel will increase twice as much by 16 cents per litre. This marks the fifth time fuel prices have gone up since March last year. With this new development, consumers at Walvis Bay, which is the cheapest, will have to pay N$5.25 for LRP, N$5.27 for unleaded petrol and N$5.09 for diesel. In its announcement yesterday, the Ministry of Mines and Energy said the rise was due to the prevailing situation of the cumulative slate under recovery in the local market, which left it with no choice but to increase the prices of petrol and diesel. The ministry said it has not adjusted its prices for quite some time for the local prices to reflect what is happening on the global scene. A ministry official, Im-manuel Nghishongele said yesterday the country could not continue like that because the difference was now building up to the extent that it now amounts to N$204 million. Even though the ministry increased prices last year, Nghishongele said fuel prices change on a daily basis, just like the foreign exchange rate. As of Sunday, the price of crude oil per barrel was US$63 (approximately N$380). The last fuel price hike, which came into effect on September 21, was 39 cents per litre, having increased by 40 cents per litre the previous month in August. In September, the revision of the prices was necessitated by having to compensate for the fluctuations in the import parity price, which is mainly due to the fluctuations in the international crude oil prices incurred during the months of June, July and August. Minister Erkki Nghimtina said the ministry was trying to keep fuel prices at an absolute minimum, which should reflect very positively on all commodity prices. He urged petrol stations to adjust their pump prices accordingly, while cautioning the public to ensure they were paying the correct price as gazetted.