Zim­babwe’s fuel stocks to last ‘well into 2017’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Busi­ness Reporter

THE Min­istry of En­ergy and Power De­vel­op­ment has quashed re­ports on so­cial me­dia claim­ing that fuel will run out this week or early next week.

In a state­ment, Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of En­ergy and Power De­vel­op­ment Mr Part­son Mbiriri as­sured the na­tion that the coun­try has ad­e­quate fuel sup­plies to last into next year.

“There is an un­for­tu­nate mes­sage do­ing the rounds in so­cial me­dia. The mes­sage is claim­ing that fuel will run out this week or early next week. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

“As we have in­di­cated be­fore, the coun­try has fuel stocks to last well into next year. The stocks are in National Oil In­fra­struc­ture Com­pany of Zim­babwe (NOIC) stor­age tanks and de­pots,” he said, adding that the coun­try has one of the high­est fuel stor­age ca­pac­i­ties in the re­gion, which is rea­son­ably stocked.

He said it was im­per­a­tive to ap­pre­ci­ate that the bulk of the stocks were in bond and once such fuel is paid for, it would be re­leased onto the mar­ket.

The Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary said this was un­like in the past when such fuel was pri­mar­ily stored in Beira, Mozam­bique the bulk of it was now stored in the coun­try.

“It is also im­por­tant to note that the fuel sec­tor has been lib­er­alised. The pri­vate sec­tor now im­ports the fuel. Fuel im­ports into the coun­try con­tinue on a daily ba­sis. In this re­gard, in the month of Oc­to­ber 2016, as much as 134 742 962 litres of fuel were im­ported into the coun­try. The process of im­por­ta­tion is con­tin­u­ing un­abated,” he ex­plained.

Turn­ing to ethanol, Mr Mbiriri said in the past the coun­try has had chal­lenges re­gard­ing the prod­uct’s avail­abil­ity dur­ing rainy pe­ri­ods.

“Once the black cot­ton soil in Chisum­banje got sog­ging wet, it be­came im­pos­si­ble to con­tinue har­vest­ing sugar cane in the fields. We are bet­ter pre­pared this year such that the prod­uct should be avail­able through­out the rain sea­son.

“In or­der to en­hance se­cu­rity of sup­ply, NOIC shall be de­vel­op­ing ad­di­tional stor­age ca­pac­ity for ethanol.

“We wish to as­sure the na­tion that there is no ba­sis for al­leg­ing that the coun­try will go dry in terms of fuel sup­ply. We have ad­e­quate fuel stocks in the coun­try. The short term chal­lenge is ac­cess­ing the bonded fuel in terms of forex,” he said.

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