DESPERATE motorists are set to endure more anguish at fuel pumps, after authorities admitted at the weekend that they were struggling to get foreign currency to import petrol and diesel.
This comes despite the global glut of oil and prices tumbling to record lows on the international market due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The situation is that we have issues with foreign currency and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is working on that.
“The government is working on various facilities to resuscitate lines of credit and also to look at the procurement of additional fuel.
“I think in the next couple of weeks we will be announcing what has been achieved so far as there is a lot of work which is currently going on pertaining to the issue,” the permanent secretary in the ministry of Energy and Power Development, Gloria Magombo, told the Daily News.
“But we hope the issue will be resolved in the shortest period of time as we … are discussing it and … believe we have a solution,” she added.
All this comes as the government has been criticised for “elbowing out” many indigenous fuel players – by allowing only four major firms to import fuel.
The government’s critics have also said many players who had free funds, and were previously importing fuel, were no longer doing so under the new national arrangement which is blamed for the current crisis.
Magombo confirmed the new arrangement to the Daily News yesterday, but denied that it had caused the deepening fuel crisis.
“Zimbabwe Energy Regulation Authority (Zera) has licensed a number of players to procure fuel, and most of these players tend to sell the product in foreign currency.
“The fuel is available at their pumps or service stations,” she said.
However, visits to the premises of some private players who used to import fuel using free funds showed that they did not have the product – except for service stations owned by one of the big companies, which were selling their fuel in foreign currency.
The situation has been further exacerbated by the crash of the Zimbabwe dollar against the United States dollar, which has rendered selling fuel in local currency uneconomical.
A litre of petrol retails for $21, while diesel is selling at $20,84 per litre.
Source – dailynews