Rise in Fuel Prices “inevitably going to hit hard on majority”: Jesuit Scholars in Zambia

Filling station in Zambia. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Officials of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) have said the continuous rise in fuel pump prices in Zambia is going to “hit hard” on majority of citizens of the Southern African nation. 

The chairperson of the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) in Zambia announced the rise in fuel prices starting April 1. The upward revision of fuel prices is the second in the year after the ERB announced new prices at the end of February. 

“The fuel pump price adjustment by almost K10 between December 2021 and April 2022 and the resultant adjustment in the commodity prices is inevitably going to hit hard on the majority of the Zambian people whose incomes are already very low,” the Jesuit scholars say in a Sunday, April 3 statement.

They acknowledge the fact that a rise in fuel prices has a spiral effect on the commodity prices in Zambia, which in turn affects the cost of living. They say, “The rising cost of living is just setting on course, and it looks likely that it is going to push more households into absolute poverty.”

On April 1, ERB adjusted upwards the pump prices of petroleum products by K4.45 (USD 0.25) per litre for Petrol, K4.68 (USD 0.27) per litre for Diesel, and K3.93(USD0.22) per litre for Kerosene.


While announcing the new fuel prices on March 31, ERB Chairperson, Reynolds Bowa, said the upward revision of the rates has been occasioned by the continued strain in global oil supply mainly due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that has exerted additional pressure on the already escalating oil prices on the international market.

Following the ERB announcement, Zambia’s Presidential Spokesperson, Anthony Bwalya, said President Hakainde Hichilema is urging citizens and industry players to be extra resilient as the government continues to aggressively work towards stabilizing and ultimately lowering the fuel pump price.

In the April 3 statement, JCTR officials say while the government has called on Zambians to be resilient “because it is aggressively working towards stabilizing and ultimately lowering fuel pump prices and improve the general economic welfare of Zambians,” the nation’s leadership is yet to implement its key economic commitments. 

“It is yet to be seen if what Government is pointing to as its key commitments such as delivery on Constituency Development Fund, rolling-out of social cash transfer program, implementation of free education program, payment of salary arrears for local government employees, recruitment of health and education workers will be enough to cushion Zambian households from the pangs of the rising cost of living when the fuel pump prices still remain very high in the short term,” officials of the Zambia-based research institute say.

They query, “What does the Government say to a poor household in Chibolya compound which is not a beneficiary of any of the above listed programs and yet it now has to pay more for food and other basic necessities?” 

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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.