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Cape Verde: Fuel prices on the rise – why?

Cape Verdean blogger Neu Lopes [pt] wonders why fuel prices in Cape Verde keep on rising. The most recent adjustments in the country saw an increase of 21% for oil, 15% for petrol, 10% for diesel, and 5% for gas, and the population now expects a domino effect on the price of all other goods, considering that increases have also been announced for transport, energy and water. All this at a time when the price of crude oil is plunging:

Segundo a ARE (Agência de Regulação Económica), “o lote importado que serve de base a esta tabela de preços foi adquirido quando os valores estavam ainda em alta”. Pergunto agora: se os valores estivessem baixos quando foi adquirido o referido lote, qual a garantia que os preços não ficariam mais elevados caso o contexto internacional fosse o contrário do actual? De qualquer forma os bolsos dos cabo-verdianos é que pagam tudo isso.

According to the ARE (Economic Regulatory Agency, pt), “the imported oil, which serves as the basis for this price list, was purchased when the prices were still high”. Now I wonder: if the prices were low when that oil was purchased, what guarantee do we have that prices wouldn't be even higher if the international context was the opposite of today's? In any case, it is the Cape Verdeans’ pockets that pay.

Ludgerocv [pt] has even more questions:

Perco as estribeiras quando a ARE, em vez de fixar PREÇOS MÁXIMOS, apresenta preços obrigatórios. Onde diabo estamos nós? A ARE deu agora para patrocinar a formação de CARTEL? As duas petrolíferas compram os combustíveis ao mesmo preço, na mesma ocasião, os lotes chegam na mesma altura, têm as mesmas despesas, etc.? Como é que diante de uma importação de uma das petrolíferas, se obtêm dados para fixar preços de venda ao público válidos para ambas?

I lose my temper when the ARE, instead of setting maximum prices, offers mandatory ones. Where the hell are we? Is the ARE sponsoring the formation of a CARTEL? Have the two oil providers purchased fuel at the same price, at the same time, have the shipment arrived at the same time, did they cost the same, and so on. How come that from the import history of one of the oil providers, they have data to determine the retail selling prices for both companies?

On publishing a piece of news about protests that will happen in Portugal against the increase in the cost of living, Redy Wilson Lima [pt] says that it is high time the Cape Verdean population started to stand up against these price rises:

Não chegou a hora de passarmos à acção também em Cabo Verde invés de muitos bla, bla, bla? É que se continuarmos conformados, o Estado nunca parará de nos kasu bodiar.

Isn't it time we started to take action in Cape Verde instead of so much blah, blah, blah? If we carry on resigning ourselves, the State will never stop ripping us off.

Nos Praia [pt], at the beginning of the month, called the Government's attention to a long-term solution: Cape Verde needs to find ways to minimize oil dependency:

Vivemos num país extremamente pobre e que depende em larga escala da conjuntua externa pasa o se sustento. A nossa produção é “caseira” e tudo que comemos e bebemos vem de fora. Portanto, caros governantes, não obstante a especificidade do país e da economia mundial, é necessário criar alternativas à dependencia do petróleo. Não precisamos inventar a roda. Existem exemplos espalhados pelo mundo e basta sermos perspicazes para resolvermos os problemas desta terra.

We live in an extremely poor country, which depends heavily upon the external situation for its provision. Our production is “domestic” and everything we eat and drink comes from outside. So, dear leaders, despite the specificity of the country and the world economy, it is necessary to create alternatives to the oil dependency. We need not invent the wheel. There are examples around the world and we just need to be sharp to solve this land's problems.

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