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Potential Rise Of Fuel Prices: Avoidable According To ACIM

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The Mauritian will suffer again. The Association of Consumers of Mauritius (ACIM) is outraged by the possibility of an ‘inevitable’ increase in fuel prices. Jayen Chellum told the press on Thursday that the increase in fuel prices will influence, or rather trigger, the increase in every item in the household budget. The inflation rate according to Statistics Mauritius is 7.4%.

Less than two months after the fuel price hike, it is already being considered for another increase, this time by 10%. The reason is the price of oil which has soared internationally, at the last fixing, a 159 litre barrel of oil was at 77 dollars, currently it is at around 95 dollars. The Price Mechanism will have to look into this calculation. Diesel costs Rs 41 per litre and petrol Rs 55.75 per litre. Experts predict that a litre of petrol will be over Rs 60.

The other reason for the rise is the gradual fall of the Rupee against the gradual rise of the Dollar

Avoidable hike

But where the government is announcing an ‘unavoidable hike’, ACIM finds that if the government reviews various taxes, the new hike announced can be reversed. “There are a number of taxes that can be removed or reviewed such as sugar taxes and taxes on Covid 19. The government can draw on other funds to subsidise fuel and relieve the population. The Ministry of Finance is able to borrow from the Mauritius Investment Corporation and provide the State Trading Corporation. It is the public’s money. Also, there is the Rs 2 billion from Betamax which could help in this process,” Jayen Chellum said. He also added that there was possibilities of reducing the excise duty from 47% to 20%.

Jayen Chellum thus held the government accountable for breaking the STC’s usual pattern of Rise during Fall and Fall during Rise, ensuring subsidy during times of emergency like this.

Competition in Freight

Speaking about freight rates, he denounced a monopolisation by four shipping companies that gives rise to unjustified ‘duty’ practices. “It is inadmissible that only MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM and Scott serve Mauritius,” he said. He said the cost of a container had risen from Rs 85,000 to Rs 658,000, prompting a steep rise in prices. Taking an example of a product, “a mattress that costs Rs 1000 to buy in China is sold at Rs 10,000 in Mauritius following these increases. There is also the calculation based on the cost of the goods and the cost of transport insurance,” says Jayen Chellum. To regularise the price of freight, he proposes the creation of a massive competition and asks the government to set up a committee and to call on ambassadors and their commercial attachés to open access to the port to Chinese, Indian, Korean and Singaporean companies among others.

Rally in sight

The last ACIM rally on 22 January did not take place. The association had not received the necessary authorisations from the MPF. Jayen Chellum intends to renew this request and once again protest against the increase in fuel prices. The date will be communicated after the legal opinion of its lawyers but also the confirmation of reinforcements in the form of new common fronts in this fight against the price increase.

Transport of Students suffering

With the start of the new school year, the transport system, commonly known as ‘Van Lekol’, thought it would be revived. On the one hand, they did not have the same demand as parents feared contamination in the vans. They prefer to drop off and pick up their children themselves. The vans are now once again prey to this new increase in fuel prices, the last time being with the increase of 29 December.

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