Changes in petrol and diesel prices mirror changes in crude oil prices. Botswana recently experienced an increase in fuel prices by 30 thebe per litre for diesel, petrol as well as paraffin. This is the second-time fuel prices were increased from the 20 thebe per litre on 1st of November 2017. Botswana Gazette carried vox pop interviews to hear how this increase has aff ected people and their plans for the impending Christmas holidays. Fuel consumption is expected to grow during the holidays because a lot of people will be travelling to various destinations.
The increase in prices could also mean that the prices boom in those countries with bigger currencies, and hence those who will be spending their holidays outside the country will have to dig deep in their pockets to fuel their cars.
First to grant us his view on the increase in fuel prices was the President of the Private Tertiary Institution Association (PTIA) Keorapetse Setlhare who hails from Lesenepole in the Tswapong region. “I intend to attend soccer tournaments in Lesenepole, Mookane as well as Maunatlala where I will be giving back to the community by donating sport equipment and handing trophies so I will be moving around a lot,” he said. Setlhare says fuel price increases mean he has to stretch his budget in order to fuel his car. Furthermore, he said this could make the soccer tournaments a little sour as the turn up for the games may be low. “This is the second time this year that petrol prices were increased and this is bad considering that employers do not raise employee salaries,” he pointed out.
However, for Percy Moeti, a Communications and Study Skills lecturer at BOTHO University the increase in fuel prices is minor. “Personally the rise in fuel prices would not have much of an impact on my spending during the festive because the increase is insignificant looking at my fuel tank; the increase is less than 20 pula to the amount I pay for full tank,” said Moeti.
Furthermore, for United Filling Station who trade under Caltex located at the industrial site along the old Lobatse road the price increase in fuel prices was caused by the fact that the government has been under recovery. “When fuel companies supply fuel to Botswana, it is at a certain price and the difference between what they pay and what we sell it at, the government compensates for that,” said their South Asian manager who wished to remain anonymous. He further said government should always announce well in time that they are going to have a fuel price increase to enable the business community to budget.
For Hill View filling Station located along the Gabane-Gaborone road, the increase in fuel price has caused a slight drop in sales though they attribute that to the fact that it is December and most people may be saving up for the festive season. The Shell licensed fuel station however has assured all of its employees that there will be no retrenchments or salary cuts because fuel prices have been changing rapidly in recent years and employees never lost their jobs.