…….”ERB sneaks in huge regulatory and marking fees in the price of fuel”
By Amb . Emmanuel Mwamba
The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has announced fuel pump price increase for Petrol, Diesel and Kerosene.
The pump price of Petrol will now be K26.50, Diesel at K26.22 and K19.32 for Kerosene.
ERB claimed that the increase in fuel prices was due to the continued strain in global oil supply mainly due to the geo-political conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
This maybe true.
But ERB neglected to inform the nation that it had also hiked regulatory and marking fees incorporated in the fuel price.
ERB also neglected to inform the nation that it had also adjusted marking fees that they pay to a private company.
ERB pays Authentix Zambia, marking fees calculated per litre of fuel.
Authentix Zambia is an authentication and information services company that marks fuel.
The covert fuel marking programme is the process of adding an invisible bio-chemical substance to all legitimately sold fuel in the country and subsequently monitoring the marker concentration levels.
ERB increased marking fees from 0.096 to 0.204 per litre and ERB fees from 0.159 to 0.196 per litre.
The Board neglected to explain and justify why these fees had to be increased when the nation is suffering from a sharp high cost of living.
Was the increase of ERB and marking fees even necessary during this global fuel crisis period?
Another matter, although ERB says the increase of price of fuel is to make it cost-reflective, the pump price is far from being reflective as Government suspended all taxes on petroleum products in 2020 of; Customs Duty (25%), Value Added Tax (VAT) and Excise duty.
Until these taxes are restored, the price of fuel will remain artificial enjoying indirect subsidies because of the continued taxes’ suspension.
The statutory instrument suspending taxes on petroleum products was extended from January 15, 2022 to June 2022.
And until Indeni Petroleum is incorporated in the fuel chain, Zambia will continue to suffer from high fuel prices.