Monday, June 15, 2015

Fuel users castigates the proposed increase of levy on petroleum products

THERE is a mixed reaction among fuel users in the country following the proposed increase levy on petroleum products which was announced in Parliament on Thursday this week when the Minister for Finance tabled the national budget for the coming 2015/16 financial year. Speaking in an exclusive interview yesterday in Dar es Salaam transport stakeholders have expressed their disappointment over the proposed new price on levy and said that, it would continue haunting the transport sector in the country. Hamidu Juma, a daladala driver plying between Posta and Makumbusho in the city said that, the government should revert its decision and called on Parliamentarians not to pass the proposed budget bearing the fact that transport industry is the most important sector for national economy. He wondered the rationale of proposing rise of fuel levy, and yet there is a constant decrease of fuel prices at a global market. Obeid Kaswati, a taxi driver in the city said that with this sudden increase, users of transporting vehicles should expect fare rise whatsoever which would ultimately compel transport users deep into their pockets to afford the anticipated prices. However, he is of the view of the fact that the Parliament should not pass the budget and instead has called on the review to maximize profits among transport operators in the country as a whole. Rehema Makangale, a petrol seller at Oilcom filing station at the heart of the city centre welcomed the idea as she knew his company would make a profit when fuel prices shoots up. Obadia Kasara who runs a private office at the city centre fears if the proposed budget would be passed as he knows that there will be a fare increase for commuter transport, a rare phenomenon that disturbs the low income city residents. He has however, appealed to the Parliamentarians not to pass the proposed budget this around bearing the fact that there has been a series of strikes formed by transporters on certain issues related with the government’s refusal to increase transportation fare. Commenting on the kerosene increase, a cross section of Das res Salaam city residents have expressed their concern with deep hearted feelings for the people who lives in rural areas, saying that, the increase would continue haunting the budget of low income earners. Salima Ally, a resident of Mwananyamala ‘B’ wonders as the current price of kerosene continues to haunt the majority poor people in rural areas who utilize the product for domestic use, what of if the proposed levy increase is passed how could the price be fetched . The survey by the Guardian shows that, kerosene in the country is sold more or vlerss rthe price of diesel and petrol since the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) introduced monthly indicative price quotations for oil products in the country. A decade ago, before the introduction of indicative price for kerosene, the product was sold almost half the price of petrol and diesel, but now it is surprising to note that, there is a slight difference in price quotations and sometimes kerosene price is sold higher than either of the two oil products. The prevailing situation according to the survey reveals that, the product has been affecting the budget of the low income earners majority of whom are rural dwellers in the country as the indicative prices by EWURA does not make an effective change on the product. Kerosene oil has become a common usable commodity as a main source of fuel for people in rural communities as the supply of electricity in these areas is very scanty and rather inadequate due to poor infrastructure.  Users of the product say that the product continues to be fetched at a higher price rate that is not easily affordable and is more aggravated by the indicative price levels which keep on fluctuating month after month.  In early 1970, over four decades ago, the price of a twenty littre full of a tin of kerosene was sold at Tsh. 21 only, recalls mzee Zablon Megwe (78), now a retired prisons officer. He said  that, by then kerosene was being sold in specially manufactured tins carrying 20 litres which nowadays are not in the market.  However, he added that, the retail prices for the commodity could be sold by shopkeepers running a retail shop in special locally made kits of measurements known as 'Kibaba'. He said in an exclusive interview yesterday in Dar es Salaam that, he could manage to survive with the little salary he was earning at that time of Sh. 620/- per month as a prison officer that could cater for other household needs for the whole month.

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