Citizens rejoice cut in fuel prices

MOTORISTS across the country were for the better part of on Wednesday beaming following the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority’s (EWURA) decision of slashing fuel prices.

Tanzanians couldn’t be happier with the decrease in fuel prices, which has significantly gone down for the first time since the beginning of this year.

According to EWURA’s statement issued on Tuesday evening, a litre of petrol will now be sold at a price that is cheaper by 441/-, while diesel will fetch 197/- less than what it used to cost during the preceding month.

The pump price for petrol hit 2,969/- and 3,125/- for diesel in Dar es Salaam, which is the lowest level in the last five months—since April. For fuel products offloaded in Tanga, petrol is sold at 3,033/- per litre and 3,131/- for diesel per litre, while for Mtwara, the products go for 3,082/- and 3,213/- for petrol and diesel respectively.

The regulator’s move was in response to a slowdown in global oil prices and the government dishing out a 65bn/- subsidy for fuel products for September.

“The government’s intervention to give the subsidy has also significantly reduced the petroleum products prices for September. The reduction marks a welcome reprieve for average ‘mwananchi’ especially motorists, traders and consumers of various products,” Dr Hildebrand Shayo, an economist-cum-investment banker, told the ‘Daily News’ yesterday.

“Relief for consumers as fuel prices go down will help businesses and households, at least temporarily. It will cushion the pump hit that for a period has been hurting businesses,” he added.

Dr Shayo said the drop in fuel prices will certainly have a big impact on the lifeblood of the economy.

“It is the lifeblood of the economy in such a way it is embedded in economic activity and it is filtered through so many goods and services,” Dr Shayo said.

However, he said, a million-dollar question is how long the fuel prices are going to continue to decrease in the absence of the monthly government subsidy offered since March, this year.

Globally, Crude Oil West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at 93.51 US dollars per barrel last Thursday, a far cry from the 130 US dollars just a few months ago. In recent weeks growing recession fears have sent prices tumbling.

But the question is whether it can continue. Some experts think oil prices could go lower due to several factors coming together at the same time—China reduced its imports of crude oil in the third quarter, concerns about an economic slowdown, and plenty of supply.

Regionally, in East African Community (EAC) Tanzania is the third country with the lowest fuel prices at an average of 3,049/- per litre, behind Kenya (2,949/-) and DR-Congo (2,873/-). Tanzania is the second in Southern African Development Community (SADC) after DRC as per yesterday’s data.

A spot survey conducted by the ‘Daily News’ countrywide yesterday revealed the pleasure of ‘wananchi’. Those who visited gas stations were surprised to see the price billboards reading differently following the government’s decision.

A resident of Seuri village in Olturumet Ward, Arusha Region, told this paper of how he was compelled to ground his vehicle after fuel prices went up beyond his reach last month.

“Getting to the workplace became even trickier as PSV owners raised bus fares,” he said.

Nonetheless, he reserved praise to the government for becoming considerate enough in lowering the price of fuel around the country.

Elsewhere, at Tengeru, Bahati Abisento Ayo, a vegetable seller at the expansive Tengeru market was in jovial mood following the change of fuel prices, a reality whose effect has reverberated across Tanzania.

Ms Ayo who admits having trouble ferrying her vegetable from Tengeru to the city center, said she now has to part ways with only 7000/- from the initial 10,000/-.

“Some of the touts and bus conductors wouldn’t let us in their buses if we couldn’t raise 10,000/,” she recounted.

This would force Ms Ayo and fellow vegetable sellers to retail the part of plants at exorbitant prices.

“This has come as a huge relief when all seemed lost,” she argued.

Motorists in Dodoma have also expressed satisfaction over the reduced fuel prices as per indicative prices starting yesterday. They expressed optimism that the price for petroleum products will continue to take a nosedive and bring relief to the country’s economy and the lives of people.

“I believe the price will be going down further. We thank the government for the monthly subsidy to soften the situation taking into account the high prices due to the war in Ukraine,” said Stephen Gervas.

Another Dodoma resident, Rahma Haule, an entrepreneur at Majengo market said though slightly reduced fuel prices, she expects the relief in prices of commodities such as food stuffs, building material and transport services.

In Dar es Salaam, the government move was equally graciously received. Rashid Salum, a motorcyclist, who conducts his activities around Buguruni Timber Market, said the move will ease cost of living and help check the high price of commodities.

“I’m optimistic that the drop in petroleum products price will trigger slump in prices of other commodities especially food stuff such as maize, rice, potatoes and wheat,” he said

Hamida Issa is among public transport users known as Daladala in Dar es Salaam who is also happy with the fuel price drop while insisting that she has great hope for responsible authority to oversee the decrease of the public transport fare.

“I hope the authorities dealing with the planning and management of fares for public transport like Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA) to focus on the issues so that we can all be benefited from this relief,” she said

In Mtwara, residents have expressed happiness over the fall of fuel prices, saying the move indicates a good start to ease economic hardships that they had faced after the sharp rise of prices.

“Personally, I’m so happy to learn that oil prices have been lowered… over 300/- have been cut in each litre, and this is a good indication that the prices will continue to fall,” said one Bakari Nassoro, a bodaboda rider in Mtwara urban.

At the heart of Moshi Municipality, Leokadia Minja had nothing but praise for the government following the good news.

“The drop in prices of fuel has been a relief for us, especially considering the fact that it is less than a week since we had to dig deeper into our pockets to pay school fees and other educational needs for our children who went back to school early this week”, she said.

Fuel prices rose to their highest levels in Tanzania last month when a litre of petrol in Dar es Salaam reached 3,410/- up from 3, 220/- an increase of 190, whereas a litre of diesel will go for 3,322/- from 3, 143/- of the preceding month.

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