Fuel levy cut ‘meaningless’

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Johannesburg - The Department of Energy’s announcement of the abolishment of an inland fuel transport levy (IITRS), which costs motorists an extra 3c per litre, was met by comments ranging from: “Three cents won’t buy my vote”; “I will use the extra money to buy an e-tag”; “I can’t even buy Chappies for three cents”; to “They make a cut here, an increase there”.

The announcement on the abolishment to take effect from next week, was made yesterday, ahead of Minister Ben Martins’ announcement on the basic fuel price today.

“The minister has approved the termination of the IITRS levy of 3c per litre applicable in the price structures of petrol and diesel with effect from April 2,” the director of fuel pricing mechanisms, Robert Maake, said.

The levy was implemented in 2009 when the pipeline between Johannesburg and Durban reached full capacity the previous year.

Deputy director of fuel pricing mechanisms, Mashudu Sinthumule, said the levy was compensation to oil companies who used alternative routes.

“For companies on the coast who wanted to bring products inland via the road… we paid them 3c. That amount was added to the fuel price structure. We said we would do that until we found an alternative plan.”

He said the new pipeline was completed in 2012, but due to a backlog of payment to oil companies, the levy could not be terminated.

But the 3c cut would have no effect on the average motorist, economists were quick to point out, and they said the “good” news could be quashed by an announcement today, of an increase in the price of petrol.

Road users took to social networks to criticise the announcement, calling it meaningless.

User @Cecegirlz said: “Wow, such a huuuge reduction, what am I gonna do with a whole 3 cents saving (+/ R6.60 per month).”

Brains said: “That’s like 1 step forward and 30 steps backwards.”

Others said it would go towards repayments of Nkandla, others called it the ANC’s “Good Story”, and, online user @tt said: “Is it April Fool’s come early.” - Ntando Makhubu from the Pretoria Newsand Sapa


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