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“ActionAid Zambia urges action on fuel and living expenses”

By Francis Maingaila

Lusaka, Zambia24 (10-05-2024) – ActionAid Zambia has called for urgent action against the continued rise in the cost of living, exacerbated by soaring fuel prices, underscoring the pressing need for sustainable solutions to mitigate the impact of escalating living expenses on the most marginalized populations.

With households grappling with the burden of increased expenses, Jovina Nawenzake, ActionAid Zambia’s Interim Country Director, said her organization wants measures taken to alleviate the financial strain on vulnerable communities.

Nawenzake called on the government to take immediate action to alleviate the burden of fuel costs on citizens and pursue long-term, sustainable solutions.

Nawenzake expressed deep concern over the recent surge in fuel prices authorized by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) on April 30th, 2024, in a statement issued to Zambia24.

She said the price of petrol has increased by 14.27% to K35.56 per liter, up from K31.12, while diesel prices have risen by 2.85% to K29.60 per liter, up from K28.78.

“Kerosene prices have seen a significant 38.89% increase to K28.39 per liter, up from K20.44,” she explained.

“This escalation in fuel costs exacerbates the already heavy burden of living expenses, disproportionately affecting low-income households nationwide,” she added.

Nawenzake noted that during the 2021 general election campaigns, the government promised to tackle the causes of rising fuel costs, such as removing fuel intermediaries.

Although the government, through the ERB, announced the launch of a trial project for ethanol-blended fuel production, Nawenzake observed a promising stride towards mitigating fuel costs, prices have continued to rise monthly, contrary to citizens’ hopes for relief.

Nawenzake urged the government to reconsider its approach to fuel price reviews and advocate for a transition from monthly to periodic assessments.

She recommended implementing targeted subsidies or price controls on essential fuels to cushion the impact on low-income households.

Additionally, Nawenzake suggested investing in renewable energy infrastructure and promoting energy efficiency measures to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and mitigate vulnerability to price fluctuations.

Collaborative efforts with stakeholders, including civil society organizations and the private sector, should be prioritized to develop comprehensive, sustainable solutions that ensure equitable access to affordable energy for all citizens.

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