UPND going to High Court to stop fuel price, water and ZESCO tariff hikes

Opposition UPND is this week expected to file an injunction and obtain a High Court order restraining Energy Regulation Board-ERB and Patriotic Front -PF government from effecting the newly approved over kr1.6/litre fuel price increment that has rated Zambian pump-prices among the highest not only in the region but also as well as in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Opposition Party strongly believes that,if Zambians allowed this unnecessary increment on fuel, the move will greatly affect the already struggling Production Sector as it is expected to raise the cost of production of goods and services which shall not only make Zambian local products uncompetitive against Foreign products on the market but also will lead to producers passing on the burden to already struggling Zambian Consumers through upward adjustment of all goods and services across the board.

Since the announcement of this hikes in fuel, Public Service Bus operators have announced the bus faires hike by over kr1 (k1000) on all Lusaka local routes to mitigate the hiked fuel prices. Zambian commuters have cried foul but PF government has kept a deaf ear to public outcry.

” We are duty bound to protect not only the suffering masses from the impact of hiked transport costs and prices of goods but also to protect the Zambia’s economy from being viewed negatively by the investing community.Our fear is, Zambia will risk being classified as an expensive foreign investment destination which will reduce prospective investors from investing in Zambia hence raising the already unacceptable high unemployment levels in the country among mostly young people.” says Hakainde Hicchilema the UPND leader.

Hichilema further wondered how PF government could be this reckless as to remove fuel subsidy on flimsy suspicions that the policy did not benefit the intended group or class of citizens because very few Zambians drive.

” How can the entire government think that subsidy is a policy only for the poor ? Subsides are meant to protect a local economy and local production sector’s goods to remain competitive on both the local and international markets as well as boost production by making the cost of production affordable ” explained Hichilema.

The Opposition Party, is expected to file an injunction restraining ERB and PF government from further approve the ZESCO tariffs next week as announced by ZESCO Managing Director Cyprian Chitundu. Chitundu, last week said the Corporation plans to hike tariffs as it was the only way to end load-shedding in the country.

The Energy Minister has since justified this planned ZESCO tariffs hike.
” Why should Zambians accept tariff hikes to cushion loadsheding when not too long ago ZESCO received a grunt allocation from the $750m Euro Bond whose impact has not been felt by citizens through reduction in loadshedding” wondered Hichilema.

He further said, “through our High Court injunction we shall among other demands on behalf of Zambians,demand for the reduction in ZESCO tariffs and loadshading due to a huge allocation Zambians made to ZESCO from the Euro Bond and not a tariff hike. We shall demand for the reduction of fuel prices from the old pump prices by kr1 (k1000) like what the South African Government did on Labour Day cerebration to boost workers morale to hard responding to the reduction of crude oil on the International Market.”

The UPND leader has said that there is no need to effect anything in Zambia especially after Zambians voted for a Party that promised low prices and Taxes. He said PF should not be allowed to renegade  on its promises it made.

Hichilema has asked Zambians to stand with his party and support the injunction which he says is a good national cause that will benefit all citizens through reduced living standards, prices of goods and bus fares.

Filed by Royd Moonga