|Energy Minister Kenneth Konga|
Energy Minister Kenneth Konga today told parliament that the implemented uniform pricing of fuel is aimed at stimulating and raising the standards of living in rural areas.
Mr. Konga told the house that it is Government’s desire to see that rural areas have access to reliable and affordable petroleum products.
The Minister said in order to cater for differences in the cost of delivering fuel between urban and rural areas, the uniform pricing of fuel mechanism will spread additional costs of delivering fuel to rural areas among all fuel consumers.
Mr Konga told the house that consumers of petrol, diesel and kerosene closer to Indeni Oil Refinery in Ndola will pay slightly more than they did in the past so that rural consumers of petroleum products could reap from the benefits of uniform pricing.
He said that 80 percent of the fuel in Zambia is consumed by the urban area while 20 percent is used by people living in rural areas.
Mr Konga told the house in a Ministerial statement that the new National Energy Policy which was adopted by Government in 2008 to improve petroleum pricing in rural areas seeks to address high fuel prices in remote areas.
He said that lower fuel prices in these areas will spur more economic activities among rural farmers, mining companies and cottage industries that have been negatively affected by the high fuel prices because of their being far from the oil refinery.
Mr Konga said the implementation of uniform petroleum pricing was a long sought national aspiration because other stakeholders have also emphasized the need for the National Energy Policy to address the issue.
He said Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have been consulted on how to implement the uniform petroleum pricing to benefit the country.
He said this is the same principle that ZESCO has been using for the pricing of electricity for consumers at different locations from power generation stations.
Mr Konga said high levels of poverty in rural areas prompted Government to implement the uniform petroleum pricing.
He further told the house that his ministry has appointed a Uniform Petroleum Price Manager who will be responsible for verification of claims from transporters to rural areas.