The Energy Regulation Board- ERB- has dismissed media reports by some publication suggesting that Government has been subsidising fuel to keep the pump prices constant for the last four months.
On Friday last week, some sections of the media, published a story suggesting that ERB had depleted what they termed as fuel ‘subsidy’ fund.
In an interview with the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation -ZNBC- in Lusaka on Tuesday, ERB Chairperson, Reynolds Bowa, argued that there was no such a thing as fuel ‘subsidy’ fund as reported.
Mr. Bowa explained that the Energy Regulation Board has been lawfully utilizing the money from the Strategic Reserve Fund since October last year to stabilise fuel pump prices in the country.
He further explained that the unexpected increase in the international price of fuel in September 2023 compelled the Board to utilise the Strategic Reserve Fund to maintain fuel pump prices in the country.
The ERB Chairperson however indicated that the decision was made in consultation with Oil Marketing Companies that the cost of transporting Petroleum Products in Zambia could be mitigated by the Strategic Reserve Fund in accordance with the law.
Mr. Bowa emphasized that the Strategic Reserve Fund does not in any way constitute a subsidy.
He noted that citizens should know that the strategic reserve fund was set up by the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy led Administration about 19 years ago owing to the occasional fuel shortages in the country.
And Mr. Bowa stated that since the Strategic Reserve was operationalized by the Petroleum Regulatory Authority, motorists have been contributing one kwacha fifty ngwee for every litre of fuel procured.
He however revealed there are fuel storage depots in every provincial capital of the country to forestall the shocks and that various projects have been undertaken across the country using the Strategic Reserve Fund (SRF).
“It is not true that Government is subsidising fuel, we only used the strategic reserve fund to caution the prices of fuel and we did that because the abrupt hike in international prices” Mr. Bowa said
The Strategic Reserve Fund (SRF) is a Government programme introduced in 2005, specifically to finance the stabilizing price of fuel, manage, rehabilitate and construct petroleum storage facilities as well as emergencies in the petroleum sub-sector.