Long fuel queues blamed on panic buy­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

FUEL ser­vice sta­tions are get­ting the nor­mal sup­plies of a com­bined eight mil­lion litres daily but panic buy­ing by mo­torists in an­tic­i­pa­tion of price in­creases and the fes­tive season has re­sulted in long queues at ser­vice sta­tions in most cities and towns, a Cab­i­net Min­is­ter has said.

In an in­ter­view yes­ter­day, En­ergy and Power De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Jo­ram Gumbo in­di­cated that there were enough fuel stocks at Msasa fuel de­pot and there was no need for mo­torists to panic.

“There is an un­prece­dented de­mand of fuel in the coun­try,” he said. “What baf­fles me is fuel com­pa­nies are get­ting the nor­mal sup­plies but queues are not dis­ap­pear­ing. The queues are, how­ever, ev­i­dence that there is in­deed fuel in the coun­try.

“We re­quire 4,1 mil­lion litres of diesel per day and 3,8 mil­lion litres of petrol a day and that is what the fuel com­pa­nies are get­ting. We had asked the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe to raise for­eign cur­rency al­lo­ca­tion to $32 mil­lion per week to meet the ris­ing de­mand up from the $20 mil­lion it was pre­vi­ously al­lo­cat­ing, but ac­cess to forex has been a chal­lenge.”

Dr Gumbo said there was suf­fi­cient fuel in the coun­try at Msasa and Mab­vuku de­pots, but the fuel comes into the coun­try bonded and is only ac­cessed af­ter pro­duc­ing for­eign cur­rency.

He said the de­mand may have been fu­elled by the an­tic­i­pa­tion of a price hike, farm­ing season prepa­ra­tions and the fes­tive season. Yes­ter­day long wind­ing queues could be seen at fill­ing sta­tions in most cities and towns in­clud­ing Bu­l­awayo and Harare.

Some fuel ser­vice sta­tions were with­out fuel while oth­ers had re­sorted to ra­tioning.

The sit­u­a­tion is ex­pected to ease af­ter Gov­ern­ment re­leased $60 mil­lion on Fri­day to­wards pro­cure­ment of fuel to mit­i­gate cur­rent short­ages.

Some un­scrupu­lous fuel deal­ers are charg­ing more than dou­ble the gazetted pump price.

Last Fri­day, In­for­ma­tion, Pub­lic­ity and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices Deputy Min­is­ter En­ergy Mu­todi said the availed funds would im­prove sup­plies con­sid­er­ably.

“Gov­ern­ment has re­leased some funds to­wards al­le­vi­at­ing the cur­rent cri­sis which, how­ever, will re­quire con­stant mon­i­tor­ing as the US$60 mil­lion re­leased will only last three weeks given the coun­try’s US$20 mil­lion per week fuel re­quire­ment,” said Deputy Min­is­ter Mu­todi.

The coun­try is con­strained in terms of for­eign cur­rency while there are many com­pet­ing de­mands on the avail­able for­eign cur­rency.

Gov­ern­ment has sev­eral struc­tures in place and is work­ing with fuel sup­pli­ers such as Sakunda Hold­ings, In­de­pen­dent Petroleum Group (IPG), Glen­core, En­gen and To­tal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.