Government looking at strategic alternatives to mitigate fuel price increases: Mbalula

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Government says they will be engaging with businesses and public transport owners to deal with the impact of escalating fuel price.

Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula says government is aware of concerns regarding the high fuel costs and is looking at other strategic alternatives to mitigate the increases.

Mbalula was speaking at the opening of the South African Bus Operators Association (SABOA) annual conference, underway in Nasarec, Johannesburg.

Experts in the road transport sector are meeting to discuss challenges facing the industry.

The long planned SABOA conference is taking place ahead of a threatened National Shutdown by the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) and the National Taxi alliance this Friday- in protest against high fuel prices.

He says, “Many countries are affected by what is happening in the war between Russia and Ukraine and that has put us in a vert precarious position as a country. We are responding to that and we should be in a position to engage with business in general and public transport owners on this matter, we have made interventions as government in terms of mitigating the attacks on us.”

VIDEO: NTA yet to make a pronouncement on national shutdown over rising fuel prices:

Chief Economist at Old Mutual, Johan Els says government’s intervention to limit the impact of rising prices on consumers is very limited.

Food and fuel prices have been rising steadily as a result of supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 lockdowns in China and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the price of Brent crude oil and other commodities.

The latest petrol adjustments announced by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy have pushed the price of fuel to more than R25 litre.

Els says consumers will have to cut down on spending.

“There’s a lot of potential negatives around from the petrol price, food prices, overall inflation interest rate increases and lots of uncertainty. But we have to take into account if we’re talking about pricing first. We want to be a market based economy,” adds Els.

“We are a market based economy and we have to realise that government cannot always control pricing, that’s very important. So with these price measures that we see, we as consumers [should] adjust our spending patterns. So if we forced to spend more on fuel and transport, we spend less elsewhere.”