* Motorists’ Valentine Day present
* But taxi-men still complain
The drop in fuel prices on Friday night has brought mixed reactions from different sectors of the economy with some motorists celebrating while others remain unhappy. Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) has reduced the retail price of petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin, following trends of a drop in crude oil prices worldwide.
But despite all these public service transporters are holding on steadfast to their demand for an increase in transport fares from the normal charge for their passengers. They are asking for 100% increase, which is from the current price of P3.50 to P7.00. They complain that they are being ripped off by the system, especially those that take long trips from places in the outskirts of the city like Mmopane, Gabane, Phakalane and Metsimotlhabe among others, having to pay the same amount as those within the city.
Disgruntled combi owner Mosimanegape Kedumetse said that petrol is expensive no matter what, especially for those that travel long distances. He referred to the P3.50 combi fare as very which shows that the government is not on their side at all. He proposed the fare price of P7.00 since they also have to pay for the servicing of the vehicles, and at the same time pay for the rank marshals. “The PrDP renewals have also been increased from P70.00 to P120.00, so why are they charging us a lot of money for everything,” Kedumetse complained.
Him and other combi drivers labeled the government as unfair because the trips to places that are considered to be within the city like from Game City to Metsimotlhabe which is 25km, is charged the same as the trip from Game City to the Bus station. Legusty Kebaswele shared the same sentiments with him, highlighting that there is also a lot of traffic on the road, increasing fuel consumption. She said government should at least set the combi fee at P5.00. She said government should reconsider the charges on the roads because they are too high. “They charge me P2 000.00 for taking a shortcut, where do I get that money when people pay so little, and I can’t afford to be stuck in traffic because then I will just make two loads in the morning,” she said. She said on a bad day two loads is the least she makes in the morning because of traffic, which costs only P105.00, but rather four loads on a good morning.
The adjustment resumed at 1am yesterday the 14th, in which unleaded petrol 93 has been reduced by 104 thebe per litre, unleaded petrol 95 has been reduced by 103 thebe per litre, diesel 500ppm have been reduced by 103 thebe per litre, diesel 50ppm has been reduced by 107 thebe per litre while the retail prices for illuminating paraffin has been reduced by 65 thebe per litre. At a filling station in Gaborone unleaded petrol 93 used to be P9.00 per litre and has since dropped to P7.96 from yesterday, unleaded petrol 95 was P9.60 but now costs P8.57, while diesel dropped from P9.16 to P8.13. Despite the decrease in fuel prices the road fund levy has gone up from 40 to 60 thebe per litre.
According to the ministry this follows the last price adjustment effected on the 6th of December 2014 where prices of all petrol grades decreased by 60 thebe per litre, while diesel 50 ppm and diesel 500ppm were decreased by 50 and 60 thebe per litre respectively. This shows that in the last two months the fuel price of all grades have dropped with an average of about 165 thebe per category while illuminating paraffin stands at about 120 thebe. The decrease had been considered due to a general decline in international crude oil prices, in which between December 2014 and January 2015, average crude oil prices fell by over US$10 per barrel. The continuing decline has been attributed to concerns of oversupply and gloomy global oil demand, and the ministry stated that they will continue to monitor the development of petroleum products prices in both regional and international markets. The ministry said in their statement that this will then enable the government to take more appropriate and informed decisions to ensure optimal price control to both the general public and the fuel supply industry.
Despite unhappiness by combi drivers, public cabs owner Jenamiso Matlhandzi said that he is over the moon about the petrol decrease, because he has been complaining a lot lately about fuel. “This will really relieve us a little bit. I can’t be happier, and it is quite a very good decrease,” he said.
Equally elated was motorists Kitso Selaelo and Bobby Kedikilwe. Selaelo said he is excited about the new reductions. He said after the December decrease he had been able to save money on fuel. Kedikilwe was surprised by the good news. “I used to spend a P1000 per month on fuel, but since December I have been spending about P800, and this decrease means I can pay even way less. That is indeed very great,” said Selaelo.
“From P9.00 to P7.96, that is quite a big break for us. I wasn’t aware but I think the way it is nobody can complain about fuel now. Hope it keeps on dropping,” said Kedikilwe.
But some retailers are also complaining. Engine Fuel Station manager who declined to be named complained that the reductions will negatively affect their business because they already have fuel reserves in their stock which they purchased at the old price. "We are going to make a loss because now we will be forced to sell it at a lower price," she said