Plas­tic money quandary as fuel sup­pli­ers de­mand cash

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Love­more Zi­gara Mid­lands Cor­re­spon­dent

FUEL re­tail­ers are in a quandary over the use of plas­tic money with their sup­pli­ers de­mand­ing cash up front to re­plen­ish stocks.

The cen­tral bank has been on a cru­sade to pro­mote the use of plas­tic money, which has seen a surge in its us­age es­pe­cially in the re­tail sec­tor.

Giv­ing oral ev­i­dence dur­ing a stake­hold­ers’ meet­ing of play­ers in the pe­tro­leum sec­tor in Gweru or­gan­ised by the Zim­babwe En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity, Kwekwe busi­ness­man Mr Temba Musekiwa who spoke on be­half of fuel re­tail­ers said fuel sup­pli­ers were in a fix in view of de­ple­tion of nos­tro re­serves, which have re­sulted in de­lays in pay­ments to sup­pli­ers. This has cre­ated de­lays in fa­cil­i­tat­ing im­por­ta­tion of fuel.

“We no longer know what to do now be­cause the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe (RBZ) is en­cour­ag­ing us to use plas­tic money and we have obliged by putting swipe ma­chines at our ser­vice sta­tions. How­ever, we have a chal­lenge with fuel sup­pli­ers who are de­mand­ing cash for the sup­plies,” said Mr Musekiwa.

“Their ar­gu­ment is that they need to make their pay­ments us­ing cash and the prob­lem they have been hav­ing with off­shore trans­fers is that the RBZ is tak­ing long to clear the trans­ac­tions and this might re­sult in fuel short­ages. So as fuel re­tail­ers we are now be­tween a hard place and a rock now.”

He said some of the play­ers were now hav­ing their sup­plies ra­tioned be­cause of the cash chal­lenges.

In Bulawayo there have also been re­ports that some fuel sta­tions were ra­tioning sales to plas­tic money users in favour of clients with cash.

Cen­tral bank Gov­er­nor Dr John Man­gudya re­cently warned that fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions were clos­ing off­shore ac­counts held by lo­cal banks thereby ex­ac­er­bat­ing the liq­uid­ity sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try.

He has called on the lo­cal trans­act­ing pub­lic to em­brace the bond notes, which are set to be in­tro­duced in a few weeks’ time.

Con­sumers have also been urged to use other cur­ren­cies in the mul­ti­ple-cur­rency bas­ket that the coun­try adopted in 2009. These in­clude the rand, pula, pound and yuan. — @lavuzi­gara1

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