Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
THE Government is set to roll out a local currency fuel supply programme which will see a number of garages selling the commodity in local currency.
At the moment more than 90 percent of garages sell fuel in foreign currency although most workers are being paid in local currency.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) said the new programme will allow arms of Government and other special services to access the fuel using local currency.
“The Government intends to roll out a programme for the supply of local currency fuel into the market for the benefit of the following consumer categories: agriculture value chain, public transport, Government Ministries and agencies, Government projects, motoring public and emergency services,” Zera said in a statement.
The energy regulator noted, however, that the rest of the fuel consumers will continue to be served by oil companies utilising their own resources/free funds and selling the fuel in foreign currency.
To qualify to sell fuel in local currency, Zera said oil companies should access the local currency pegged fuel.
It said the oil company must be a holder of a valid Zera licence, and in the case of a procurement licensee, the company must have at least three retail sites.
Zera added that the company must not have been previously charged or blacklisted for any violation of the law.
“Participating retail outlets should have the National Fuel Management System installed. Designated retail sites should sell fuel in ZWL only. Co-mingling of products at a site is strictly forbidden. At least 70 percent of the allocated fuel must be sold through designated retail networks and 30 percent to commercial (non exporting) customers,” Zera said.
The regulator said participating oil companies must also submit weekly returns to Zera and advertise through print and electronic media the sites that are selling the fuel in local currency.
“Each of the participating oil companies shall designate one retail site in a provincial capital for dispensing fuel in local currency. In a bid to arrest illegal black market fuel dealers, no site shall sell fuel in containers to any consumers as this fuels corruption at the same time creating artificial shortages of the ZWL fuel.”
Zera also said participating companies will be denied further fuel uplifts from NOIC depots before reconciling the previous allocation.
Penalties for those found on the wrong side of the set regulations will be instituted.
“Participating companies will avail ZWL fuel documentation to Zera upon request. Hefty civil penalties to be applied for failure to account for proper applications of ZWL fuel.”
Zera added that oil companies that are interested in the local currency fuel must submit a list of sites to be designated for the local currency fuel by tomorrow (1 November).
Forty-nine percent of the fuel that is on the market is sourced via the RBZ facility meaning that consumers must be able to source it easily if there were no unscrupulous traders.