Fuel prices worry consumers
The government’s decision to increase the price of premium petrol last Thursday has led to fears among consumers that the move could lead to yet another hike in food prices and transport costs.
Citing a turbulent increase in fuel prices globally that have witnessed an upsurge since December last year, the government pushed up the prices of petrol from Rwf1,000 to Rwf 1,030 per litre, with the price of diesel remaining unaffected at Rwf 1,000.
“We hope this will not affect food prices because if they increase again, it will be difficult for many consumers,” a Kigali resident, Jacqueline Munyandwi, told The New Times.
Fuel prices on the global market rose by 10 per cent to $$96 per barrel, up from $87 in December 2010 before climbing to $125 this year.
Last month, the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda reported that inflationary levels had risen to 8.18 per cent up from 7.85 per cent due to an increase in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages. There is a probability that the recent increase in fuel prices could drive food prices up, thus causing higher inflation.
“It is true an increase in pump prices affects other prices, but we expect that the new prices will not affect transport costs because the increase has been on petrol and not on diesel and many vehicles transporting goods use diesel,” explained Francois Kanimba, Minister of Trade and Industry.
He added that in a bid to control fuel prices, the government agreed with fuel dealers to solely increase petrol prices and restrain from raising diesel prices to ensure that the economy is not negatively impacted.
“We anticipate fuel prices on the world market will fall, so we agreed with fuel dealers not to increase diesel prices so that this does not affect us,” he added.
Fuel prices have remained on an upward curve since last year, with January 2011 prices going up from Rwf 952 to Rwf 965, while in April of the same year, prices jumped to Rwf 1,060 before dropping to Rwf1,025 in June 2011 and then slumping to Rwf 940 at the beginning of this year.
Contact email: dias.nyesiga[at]newtimes.co.rw