Increased Fuel Prices in Zambia Expected but “disheartening”: Jesuit Institute Official

Filling station in Zambia. Credit: Courtesy Photo

An official of the Lusaka-based Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has said that while the recent increase in fuel prices in Zambia was expected, the move by the country’s Energy Regulation Board (ERB) is discouraging as it will impact negatively on households.

On February 28, ERB chairperson announced the upward review of fuel prices in the Southern African nation. Reynolds Bowa said the increase in pump prices was inevitable to ensure a sustained supply of fuel to the Zambian market in the short to medium term.

“When it comes to the most recent increment in the price of fuel, while expected, it is sort of disheartening because we know what this implies for the cost of living,” JCTR Social and Economic Program Manager says in a Thursday March 3 video.

A hike in oil prices in Zambia was expected following the global increase in oil per barrel last month. 

In the video published by JCTR, Chama Bowa Mundia says Zambians have experienced high costs of living in previous years when fuel prices were adjusted.  


“From the last fuel price increment that we had in December (2021), we have seen the cost of living really increase on account of the fuel price increment,” Mrs. Mundia says.

She adds that while fuel prices are not the only factor that affects the cost of living, the high cost of gasoline “is definitely a key factor in it.”

“For JCTR, our major concern is on how this impacts on the cost of living because whether we are expecting it or not, the truth of the matter is there will be an impact on the prices of essential food and nonfood items because it (fuel) is a critical input in that regard," Mrs. Mundia says. 

She adds that the impact of the increased fuel prices is not likely to be as much as that of December 2021 when the cost of gasoline rose by approximately US$ 0.22. 

The JCTR official, however, says the small impact on the cost of living might be short-lived as global fuel prices might adjust after a while. 

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"With the markets, we are really not sure how they will react. They may be anticipating further increases that will definitely impact on how customers will pay for particular items," she says, and adds that the Ukraine-Russia war is already affecting gasoline prices. 

As a way forward, Mrs. Mundia calls on Zambia’s Ministry of Finance to create a model that will allow the prediction of future fuel prices.

The model, she says, “will allow us to possibly predict how much prices will increase for fuel between now and the next three months and we can possibly have more stability.”

Mrs. Mundia has also called for the implementation of social protection interventions aimed at cushioning poor and vulnerable Zambians.

“As prices of oil rise, the poor and the vulnerable will be affected more. There is need to effect those social protection interventions like social cash transfer, food security transfers, provision of bursaries and many others,” she says.


The official of the Lusaka-based Jesuit Institute adds, “If we can implement that and provide that cushion to households, we will be able to meet some of the basic essentials that will be helpful especially in these hard times that we are in and more so, issues around employment creation.”

“We know that the government has committed to create about 44,000 jobs. While that is good, it is very important and critical. We are also calling for the aspect of the private sector driven job creation,” she said.

Mrs. Mundia continued, “Till now, we do not know how many jobs will be created from the private sector apart from the 44,000 jobs that will be created by the government. There is need for that to be very clear.”

In her video message, the JCTR official goes on to urge the media and various stakeholders to keep the government accountable for all its actions.

“It is a call to our communities and various stakeholders such as the media, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to keep the government to account on a number of issues to be able to respond on a number of issues that are affecting households even as we deal with the issue of increased oil prices,” Mrs. Mundia says in her March 3 video message.

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Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.