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…‘devastating increase no surprise’

2022-05-31  Paheja Siririka

…‘devastating increase no surprise’

Political leaders have expressed their shock at the latest fuel price increase announced by the ministry of energy yesterday.

Rally for Democracy and Progress leader Mike Kavekotora said it is devastating to witness the increase of fuel under the current leadership, considering deliberations that happened to prevent such ordeals; hence, he does
not find these developments surprising.

“It is something that did not come as a surprise to me at least because even during our budget discussions, I was trying to warn the government to say before we approve this budget, let us look at this subsequent event – the impact of the war in Ukraine,” he stated.

Kavekotora added that since 2016, the economy has not grown, and the issue of the war in Ukraine has not only an impact on fuel but the price of food in Namibia.

“The reason I was pushing to review the budget was to make provision for subsidies on fuel and basic food. That was my main reason for raising that particular point, but the government of the day, of course, just ignored me; the impact on our economy will be devastating,” he said. The economist stated the increase in fuel has dire consequences, especially for a country like Namibia that is not entirely self-sufficient. “This will have an impact on our food production because we are not a food-producing country. 

But the little that we produce in this country will become more expensive. That will hit the men on the street,” noted Kavekotora.

He said: “The increment of fuel will have an impact on the price of food – and that is something felt already; this is the impact of the government not listening to people who try to warn and then raising a warning system early enough for us to do contingency planning.”

He said one of the ways Namibians can survive through this is to control spending.

“We all need to economise on everything – on every aspect of life. We need to ask ourselves, is it needed? Is it necessary for me to undertake this?”

Landless Peoples’ Movement spokesperson Eneas Emvula said Namibia is heading towards mega inflation if drastic measures are not taken, including a temporary fuel supply arrangement between Namibia and Angola.

“It is also time that the State stops playing politics with SACU and propose the inclusion of Angola into the regime to boost trade in the customs block,” he suggested.

Emvula added the fuel increment is terrible news for the ordinary citizens who are already battling with keeping their heads above water – let alone the small businesses in the service sector in the absence of any subsidy from the central government.

“It now seems as if the government is on a damage control quest. Just last time and still in May, they fended off the fuel decrease with N$1.20 on petrol and N$0.30 on Diesel. GRN should halt playing cat and mouse games on issues that negatively affect the daily lives of Namibians. What is so difficult to cushion such increases with a 2% cut on current taxes, such as VAT?” queried Emvula.

Meanwhile, Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters’ member of parliament Kalimbo Iipumbu feels a country like Namibia needs not to be bothered by things like fuel and food increases.

All of these are happening because of “captured individuals”.

“We are a country with enough resources that can be used to pile up for the future. We don’t have leaders but instead self-proclaimed dumb leaders. They are forever praising that they fought for the political independence – but remember, you did not fight to come and starve the nation,” stressed Iipumbu.

He added: “We need to do away with this regime. The leadership is influenced by stealing and corruption. Now that the fuel is going up, what mechanism do they put in place to meet the nation halfway? Zero”.

Popular Democratic Movement’s Nico Smit says the party views the consistent increase in fuel prices as unfortunate and to the detriment of ordinary Namibians who are already battling the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is a protracted downfall in the economy that has been felt for several years now. Ordinary citizens do not only feel fuel prices but the increases transcend across the entire economy in terms of negatively hampering the transport industry, such as airlines and trucks, which directly impacts the efficient delivery of food and goods to consumers,” said Smit.

The PDM calls for parliament to enact legislation that regulates the exorbitant increase in fuel prices.

 “There must be regulations in place that protect consumers from the harsh adverse effects of the market in regards to fuel. This is the only way that government can protect consumers,” stated Smit.

2022-05-31  Paheja Siririka

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