New oil prices will not affect public transport fares, regulator assures

Passengers wait to board a bus at Remera Park in Kigali. Courtesy.

The prices of petroleum products, that rose this week, will not affect public transport fares because they remain within the limits of current prices for public transport, an official with utilities regulator has said.

Dr Benjamin Rutimirwa, the Director of Economic Regulation at the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), told The New Times Tuesday that fuel prices in the country have increased because all the three main elements that drive fuel prices have also increased in cost.

He said that, in Rwanda, the price of petroleum products is driven by three elements, price at the international market, transport costs from exporter countries to Kenya and Tanzania where Rwanda picks its oil products from, and the foreign exchange rate.

“Lately, all the mentioned elements have increased and, consequently, RURA reviewed pump prices to avoid losses on the part of petroleum operators,” he said in an interview.

The new fuel prices will be effected today (Wednesday) with diesel rising to Rwf1,148 a litre up from Rwf1,093.

Petrol will now cost Rwf1,132 a litre, up from Rwf1,109.

The new changes represent an increase of Rwf55 and Rwf23 for diesel and petrol, respectively.

While diesel normally costs lower than petrol in the country, Rutimirwa said that this time around diesel is more expensive due to the prevailing price at the international market.

For example, the expert explained, while at the end of October 2018 one metric ton of diesel was costing $707.83, a metric ton of petrol was at $702.87.

But Rutimirwa said that new changes on fuel prices will not affect public transport fares because they remain within the limits of current prices for public transport.

“This increase will not impact public transport fares,” he said.

Public transporters contacted by The New Times did not say whether they would increase transport prices fares because they are yet to assess what will be the real impact of the increased fuel prices on their business.

The chairperson of the Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperatives (RFTC), Ludovic Twahirwa Dodo, said that he will first look closely at the new prices before he can determine whether they may spur increase in transport fares or not.

Just about four months ago, fuel prices had increased in the country with new changes in July representing an increase of Rwf54 and Rwf56 for petrol and diesel, respectively.

RURA Director General Patrick Nyirishema said in a statement while announcing the new pump prices on Monday that their increase was a result of increased prices for petroleum products on the international market.

The review of fuel prices in the country are normally done every two months depending on the fluctuation of prices for petroleum products on global markets.

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