‘Zim has enough fuel stocks’

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Lin­coln Towindo

ZIM­BABWE has ad­e­quate fuel stocks but panic buy­ing and hoard­ing are caus­ing stock-outs at fill­ing sta­tions, a Cabi­net min­is­ter has said.

En­ergy and Power De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Dr Jo­rum Gumbo told The Sun­day Mail yes­ter­day that the cur­rent short­ages are “ar­ti­fi­cial” and are cre­at­ing a “false cri­sis”.

The Msasa and Mab­vuku de­pots in Harare have enough fuel, while pump­ing of the com­mod­ity from Beira, Mozam­bique through the Feruka Pipeline was on­go­ing, he said.

Although fac­ing com­pet­ing de­mands for for­eign cur­rency as in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion re­cov­ers, the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe, he added, was spend­ing $20 mil­lion weekly to im­port fuel suf­fi­cient to meet the coun­try’s daily re­quire­ments of 2,5 mil­lion litres of diesel and 1,5 mil­lion litres of petrol.

“The spo­radic fuel stock-out at ser­vice sta­tions are be­ing caused by a num­ber of fac­tors that in­clude for­eign cur­rency short­ages and panic buy­ing by mo­torists, re­sult­ing from false so­cial me­dia mes­sages,” said Dr Gumbo.

“Once oil com­pa­nies get the for­eign cur­rency from the Re­serve Bank, they have to plan for the lo­gis­tics of get­ting the fuel to their ser­vice sta­tions and that at times causes de­lays at ser­vice sta­tions far from Harare.

“Also, in­ter­na­tional oil prices are ris­ing and that means that the for­eign cur­rency the RBZ al­lo­cates to fuel com­pa­nies that is around $20 mil­lion — amount­ing to 80 mil­lion litres a month — is no longer ad­e­quate.

“In ad­di­tion, the in­crease in de­mand also in­di­cates in­creased pro­duc­tion by in­dus­try, a re­sponse to the Zim­babwe is Open for Busi­ness slo­gan.

“As the econ­omy con­tin­ues to im­prove, there is go­ing to be in­creased de­mand for for­eign cur­rency. What is hap­pen­ing also is panic buy­ing is cre­at­ing ar­ti­fi­cial short­ages as mo­torists are buy­ing more than they re­quire.”

Dr Gumbo urged mo­torists not to pur­chase more fuel than they re­quired.

“At our Masasa and Mab­vuku de­pots there is enough fuel and pump­ing is on­go­ing from Beira. We need 2,5 mil­lion litres of diesel a day and 1,5 mil­lion litres of petrol; we are able to meet those fig­ures.

“The panic buy­ing should not be ex­pected as there is no need for that. There are also fears that the new 2c tax (on elec­tronic trans­fers) could be con­tribut­ing as peo­ple think that the price of fuel will shoot through the roof and peo­ple are hoard­ing,” said Dr Gumbo.

Dr Gumbo said mar­ginal price ad­just­ments at ser­vice sta­tions were in tan­dem with ris­ing in­ter­na­tional crude oil prices.

Last Wed­nes­day, in­ter­na­tional oil prices rose to a four-year high of $86,74 per bar­rel on fears US sanc­tions on Iran, which take ef­fect next month, will cause a one mil­lion-bar­rel de­cline in global pro­duc­tion.

Iran is the third-largest pro­ducer in the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Petroleum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries.

The RBZ will spend more than $650 mil­lion im­port­ing fuel this year.

Gov­ern­ment is also de­vel­op­ing a long-term model that will en­sure mul­ti­ple fuel im­porters source their own for­eign cur­rency and ease the bur­den on al­lo­ca­tions from the cen­tral bank.

Last week, Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Mthuli Ncube said Gov­ern­ment would soon in­vite in­vestors to cre­ate a “re­gional fuel dry port” at the Mab­vuku Load­ing Gantry and Msasa De­pot stor­age fa­cil­i­ties.

“The vi­sion for this in­land fuel port will turn it into a vi­tal re­gional fuel port that will serve neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

An ad­di­tional pipeline could also be built from Beira to the fuel stor­age fa­cil­ity in or­der to in­crease ca­pac­ity.”

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