Expect a bumpy financial road in the months ahead as fuel prices go up tomorrow

2015-03-03 00:00

THE welcome relief in the pockets of consumers brought along by the lower fuel price has been short-lived after all.

With the price of diesel increasing by 74c per litre and petrol by 96c per litre tomorrow, we are in for a bumpy ­financial road in the months ahead, ­Andre Venter, spokesperson of the trade union Uasa, said yesterday.

On top of the fuel price, Road ­Accident Fund levies and general fuel levies will be increased by 80,5c, coming into effect by April this year. It appeared also that Gauteng consumers will eventually have to pay toll fees under the guise of a levy on vehicle licences plus a portion via the toll gantry system.

Neil Roets, CEO of Debt Rescue, one of the largest debt management companies, said the fuel price hike coupled to higher taxes for middle-class consumers was going to plunge many deeply indebted people even deeper into debt.

Absa wealth and investments marketer Chris Gilmour said: “The lowering ­fuel price that consumers have been enjoying over the past few weeks will soon be largely negated,” he said.

A slow but steady increase in the price of crude oil and a weakening rand means there could be more increases in the fuel price in the near future.

Roets said the overall economic ­outlook remains grim as millions of consumers are unable to service their debt resulting in ever greater numbers seeking help from debt counsellors. “Debt Rescue has experienced unprecedented growth largely because of the flood of consumers who are on the verge of ­losing their possessions,” Roets said.

National Credit Regulator’s Consumer Credit Market Report (CCMR) shows the total outstanding gross debtor’s book is sitting at R1,47 trillion. This is money owed by consumers for mortgages, vehicle finance, credit cards, store cards, personal loans, short-term loans, pension and insurance-backed loans.

The only solution is to be aware of the expenses to be faced and to prepare for them as best we can, said Venter.

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