THE Government has listened to pleas from motorists who said they were finding it hard to secure fuel as most service stations across the country were selling the commodity in foreign currency.
The majority of service stations argued that they were sourcing their own foreign currency to import fuel, and a result, they were at liberty to sell it in foreign currency as well, leaving the majority of motorists in despair.
There were also concerns that even service stations that got foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe through the Auction System waere violating the law and selling the commodity in foreign currency as well.
Nonetheless, the Government has said it has come up with US$15 million to pay for imports of fuel that will be sold in local currency by service stations starting at the end of this month. The fuel will be available to all those who want to access it.
Last month, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulation Authority (Zera), flighted an advert inviting fuel station owners and distributors who wished to participate in the local currency fuel facility. So far, 57 fuel station owners and distributors have responded and the first tranche of 15 distributors and fuel station owners is now working with Zera and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on modalities to ensure that the facility is water tight.
Acting Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere confirmed the development.
“His Excellency (President Mnangagwa) has approved a fuel facility for Zimbabwe dollars and has directed the ministry to ensure that this facility be availed across the country,” he told our sister paper, The Herald.
According to details made available, the Zimbabwe dollar fuel facility will be extended to State-owned enterprises and strategic Government contracts for roads and dams’ construction. The ministry has already developed modalities and frameworks in monitoring the implementation of the scheme.
All fuel companies should have the national fuel management system installed, designated service stations should sell in local currency only and Zera will monitor and analyse the supplier, including banking transactions.
Companies are also expected to submit weekly returns to Zera, and ensure that service stations selling fuel in local currency are advertised in the print and electronic media. Companies participating in the facility must have at least three service stations in different provinces. Containers will be banned for the Zimbabwe dollar fuel, which will prevent people buying in local currency and selling in foreign currency.
Fuel is a crucial ingredient for economic development. And as both agricultural and industrial activities increase, the demand for energy similarly increases. When fuel is made available to a majority of people, it means they are able to transport goods and do business, thereby contributing to economic development.