Source: RBZ to descend on fuel operators – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 15, 2017
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will investigate fuel operators who are opting for cash and deliberately refusing to accept plastic money.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Electronic transactions have become the new payment platform, following the prevailing cash shortages that have shown no signs of abating.
RBZ governor John Mangudya told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development on Monday that fuel operators had no right to refuse plastic money as none of them exported and earned foreign currency.
“It is sad to hear that some of the fuel operators are still refusing to accept plastic money yet none of them export the fuel. I can assure you we will look into it and send people to investigate if need be,” he said.
Mangudya was responding to committee members who said they had received reports of some fuel operators that were frustrating motorists when they wanted to use plastic money by citing network failures or a broken-down point of sale machine.
Legislators wanted to know why the central bank was not investigating these cases.
Some of the tactics identified include operators telling motorists to drive to another one of their fuel stations.
Insiders say some of fuel operators were taking advantage of the recent clogging in the real time gross settlement transactions which the banks have been facing.
However, Zuva Petroleum CEO, Bethwell Gumbo told NewsDay yesterday that such incidents were isolated in the fuel industry and that he had not heard of any of those practices within his company.
“What you must understand is that we run a franchise model so our service stations are run by a franchise holder who is an independent business person, but should adhere to franchise protocols. But, what they do every minute and every day I might not have a direct influence on it especially on things that have to do with national interests or issues,”’ he said.
“However, from my own experience that [rejecting plastic money] is not common at all. Those are isolated cases which I think people are just taking that as an excuse to put across as their own experience. I do not think it is a national problem and I do not think there is a national outcry about plastic money at fuel service stations.”
No comment could be obtained from the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority as its chief executive officer Gloria Magombo had not responded, inquiries by NewsDay.
RBZ retained 30% of $2,4 billion in foreign currency generated between the months of January and May 31 this year. Of that amount, $180 million was allocated to fuel imports.
On average, the RBZ allocates about a total of $100 million (from the central bank and banks) a month to import fuel from the foreign currency it retains and from the ones which go to the banking sector.