Plastic money quandary as fuel suppliers demand cash
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