Several petrol station owners could be punished for attempting to hoard gasoline and diesel on the evening of October 3, 2023.
On that date, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) announced a hike in fuel prices for the next two months, effective from 4 October 2023.
The government utility announced that the maximum retail price for Gasoline (Premium Motor Spirit) is now set at Rwf1,822 a litre, from Rwf1,639, from the prices announced in August -an increase of Rwf183 per litre, in what is the highest increase this year.
The maximum retail price for Diesel (Automotive Gas Oil) is at Rwf1,662 from a previous price of Rwf1,492, reflecting an increase of Rwf170 per litre consumed.
Unusual queues were observed at several petrol stations following the new price announcement, to an extent that it attracted the public attention.
In an exclusive interview, the Minister of Trade and Industry Chrisosthome Ngabitsinze told KT team, that it is an indecent practice that they also noted.
“Prior to any price update, we call fuel importers and discuss the changes. Before shifting to the updated prices, we give them a room to update the pumps, normally a period of 24 hours. It is unfortunate when someone with whom you planned the changes comes up with a different attitude and stops serving clients pretending that there is no fuel,” Ngabitsinze said.
“It is really bad; one wants to earn way more than they were supposed to. This case was followed up and RURA has got a list of people that were allegedly involved into this malpractice. Anyone linked to it will be held accountable.”
RURA boss Evariste Rugigana was reluctant to disclose the names of companies/individual that were involved. The institution suggests that it is not for media consumption, but Rugigana confessed that an investigation into the matter was conducted.
Commenting on the fuel price rises, Ngabitsinze said that the country cannot avoid it following international economic trends.
He however said, that regionally, Rwanda has the lowest price on diesel and second lowest after Tanzania, a coastal country.
“Why do we have lower prices compared to several countries in the world? Because we have that policy of sharing the little that is available; for diesel which is more used in public transport, we were much careful to avoid more deterioration of purchasing capacity,” Ngabitsinze said.
“The government was obliged to subsidize so that we try and reduce the implication. Initially, the increase was supposed to be 22 per cent, but we brought it down to 11 per cent.”
He said that if the government had not put in subsidies, fuel would go up to Rwf 1800 and gasoline, more than Rwf 2000.
Rwanda updates fuel prices every two months after an analysis of global market trends.
“Our formula is two months, other countries updates prices every month, or even two weeks,” Ngabitsinze said.