Mozambique: HCB records highest net result ever in 2021
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Oil companies operating in Mozambique say they are running out of the ability to import fuels because of the low retail prices in the country, given the increase in prices on the international market and the approximately US$120 million that the state owes them.
Michel Ussene, president of the Mozambican Association of Fuel Operators (Amepetrol) said at a press conference in Maputo that the increase in the price of a barrel of oil to around US$110 meant that fuel prices in Mozambique were out of step with the situation in the region.
“A vehicle that fills up with diesel in Ressano Garcia and crosses over to Komatipoort will be paying 19.89 meticais less in Mozambique, which means that the price in Mozambique is out of step with what should be the international price,” Ussene explained.
“From the comparison of seven countries in the region – Mozambique, Tanzania, Eswatini, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya – Mozambique has the cheapest product at the filling stations,” he added.
Amepetrol has already done its calculations and is aware that the price could go very high, its president says, but the current situation could lead to some operators in the sector not having the capacity to import fuel.
Danilo Correia, from Puma Energy Mozambique, also warns that the situation is worsening because of the government’s growing debt of around US$100 to US$120 million to these companies.
“The current market price is not in line with the cost of the product, and this means that companies have accounts receivable, in this case the Mozambican government’s debt with gas stations, which is not recent and is worsening with the current situation internationally,” Correia points out.
Minister of Economy and Finance Max Tonela has recently admitted the possibility of an upward revision of fuel prices.
“There are discussions underway with the gas companies with a view to finding ways of mitigating [prices], but depending on developments, we may have to make one more adjustment to avoid [shortages] and guarantee the continuity of fuel supply,” Minister Tonela said.
A rise in fuel prices could put further pressure on the cost of living in the country with a knock-on increase in the price of goods and services, starting with transport.
Despite warnings that the month of May will be difficult, fuel operators say they have about 20 days’ supply of gasoline and 15 days’ of diesel.