Govt re­views fuel prices Mea­sures in place to cush­ion work­ers

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Levi Mukarati Harare Bureau

THE Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced, with im­me­di­ate ef­fect, new prices of fuel at ser­vice sta­tions which will see diesel and petrol now sell­ing at $3,11 and $3,31 re­spec­tively from the cur­rent av­er­ages of $1,37.

The new prices are ex­pected to trig­ger avail­abil­ity of fuel in the coun­try fol­low­ing short­ages of the com­mod­ity over the past few months with the sit­u­a­tion wors­en­ing in the past few days.

An­nounc­ing the lat­est prices last night, Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa also said tax re­bates would be ex­tended to all reg­is­tered busi­ness en­ti­ties in key eco­nomic sec­tors to cush­ion them from in­creased costs as a re­sult of the up­ward re­view in fuel cost.

The Pres­i­dent made the an­nounce­ment at State House while flanked by Vice-Pres­i­dent Con­stantino Chi­wenga, act­ing Min­is­ter of En­ergy and Power Devel­op­ment Per­rance Shiri and Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Pro­fes­sor Mthuli Ncube.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said the new fuel prices were meant to curb a ram­pant il­le­gal trade of the com­mod­ity.

“Fol­low­ing the per­sis­tent short­fall in the fuel mar­ket at­trib­ut­able to the in­creased fuel usage in the econ­omy and com­pounded by ram­pant il­le­gal cur­rency and fuel trad­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, Gov­ern­ment has to­day (yes­ter­day) de­cided . . . with ef­fect from mid­night tonight (last night), a fuel pump price of $3,11 per litre for diesel, and $3, 31 per litre for petrol will come into ef­fect. Th­ese prices are pred­i­cated on the rul­ing of­fi­cial ex­change rate of 1:1 be­tween the Bond Note and the United States Dol­lar, and also on the need to keep fuel re­tail­ers vi­able.”

The Pres­i­dent said for­eign mis­sions and reg­is­tered for­eign bod­ies in Zim­babwe as well as tourists could fuel at des­ig­nated points at US$1,24 per litre for diesel and US$1,32 per litre for petrol. He said such priv­i­leged groups could only do so upon pro­duc­tion of proper iden­ti­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ments. Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said in a bid to curb a rip­ple ef­fect of the fuel price in­crease to gen­eral goods, tax re­bates would be ex­tended to key busi­nesses in key sec­tors.

“Cog­nisant of the need to pre­vent gen­er­alised price in­creases for goods and ser­vices in the coun­try, with the at­ten­dant hard­ships which that will en­tail es­pe­cially to the com­mut­ing work­force, Gov­ern­ment has de­cided to grant a re­bate to all reg­is­tered busi­ness en­ti­ties in man­u­fac­tur­ing, min­ing, com­merce, agri­cul­ture and trans­port sec­tors,” he said.

“De­tails on the ex­act form the re­bate sys­tem will take will be an­nounced in due course. Given th­ese cost mit­i­ga­tions and in­cen­tives, Gov­ern­ment does not ex­pect, and will not al­low, busi­nesses to trig­ger a new round of price in­creases. Equally, Gov­ern­ment will en­hance the ex­port in­cen­tive scheme by ad­di­tional 2,5 per­cent. Gov­ern­ment has put in place mea­sures to en­sure con­stant fuel sup­ply into the coun­try for sus­tain­able fuel avail­abil­ity.”

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said Gov­ern­ment was in the process of com­ing up with mea­sures to cush­ion its em­ploy­ees from eco­nomic chal­lenges.

“Gov­ern­ment is putting in place mea­sures to cush­ion its work­ers un­til a full re­view of Cost of Liv­ing Ad­just­ment pack­age due in April 2019 is af­fected in the con­text of the cur­rent bud­get. Gov­ern­ment is aware of at­tempts by cer­tain el­e­ments bent on tak­ing ad­van­tage of the cur­rent fuel short­ages to cause and spon­sor un­rest and in­sta­bil­ity in the coun­try. Such po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated ac­tiv­i­ties will not be tol­er­ated.

“To curb con­tin­ued mis­use of fuel in the coun­try, Gov­ern­ment through rel­e­vant de­part­ments which in­clude its se­cu­rity struc­tures, have started on a com­pre­hen­sive au­dit of all fuel draw-downs with a view to es­tab­lish­ing points of leak­ages. Where crim­i­nal con­duct is ap­par­ent, the law will take its course.”

The coun­try has been fac­ing fuel short­ages since Oc­to­ber af­ter a panic buy­ing wave gripped the na­tion. Zim­babwe had the low­est petrol and diesel prices in the re­gion where av­er­ages are US$1,25.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa mak­ing the an­nounce­ment last night. Look­ing on is VP Chi­wenga

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