One of the most ineffective policies in eliminating the asymmetries between Maputo and the real Mozambique is that governing the cost of fuel. After years of subsidizing the price that to a large extent benefited only the “Maputenses”, gasoline and diesel are now about 15% more expensive in our country and may reach 20% soon.
Whenever the government announces changes in the price of fuel, it omits to mention that these will apply to Maputo, Beira, Nacala, Monapo and Pemba only. In the rest of the country, prices vary depending on the cost of transportation, which increases the cost of living for the poorest Mozambicans who do not even have a car.
The latest revision of prices in August raised the price of a litre of petrol in the poorest province of Mozambique, Niassa, to 79.70 meticais, as against 69.53 in Maputo. Diesel there costs 74.83 meticais, as against 64.66 in Maputo, and lighting oil is sold at 60.50 meticais a litre, as against 50.33 in the capital.
Perhaps that is why Mozambicans living in Niassa seem to have given up on owning cars. Between 2016 and 2017 the number of light cars dropped from 2,531 to only 397. Heavy vehicles also dropped from 1,776 to 1,104. The eyes are clearly set on motorbikes, which increased in number from 723 to 1,545 last year.
In Tete, a litre of petrol in the district of Zumbo costs 77.70 meticais, a litre of diesel 72.83 meticais and lighting oil 58.50 meticais.
Fuel prices are also very high in the province of Zambézia, particularly in the district of Milange, where a litre of petrol costs 78.76 meticais, diesel 73.89 and lighting oil 59.56 meticais.
Until recently, the government subsidised the cost of fuel by paying gas stations to keep the price low while additionally subsidising thousands of private passenger transport operators in Maputo.
Carriers operating on provincial routes meanwhile, because of their informality, never received any support, paying at the filling stations the full price, inflated according to their geographical location.
By Adérito Caldeira
Source: A Verdade