Farayi Machamire 9 July 2017
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s fuel is the most expensive in southern Africa despite
government introducing its controversial mandatory blending policy which
forces fuel companies to mix unleaded petrol with ethanol as part of
reducing the import bill.
In a paper on the prices of fuel, the Zimbabwe Energy Council (Zec) noted
that the country’s commodity was overly priced even compared to other land
locked countries whose transport costs and levies were much higher.
“(In) June 2017, the price of fuel decreased by 25c (South African cents)
in RSA, again in July, the fuel price decreased by further 69c (South
“In Zimbabwe it’s the opposite, when every other nation is decreasing its
fuel prices, we are increasing ours! What drives and determines fuel
prices in Zimbabwe, more so when we are using a stable USD currency?”
According to statistics gathered by Zec, Zambia, a landlocked country like
Zimbabwe, unleaded fuel is currently selling for $1, 11 per litre.
Petrol per litre was retailing at $0, 95 cents in Angola, $0, 74 cents in
Botswana, $0, 79 cents in Lesotho, $1, 10 cents in Malawi, $0, 95 cents in
South Africa, $0, 91 cents in Swaziland and $1, 30 in Zambia.
In Zimbabwe a litre of (petrol) blend is averaging 1,32.
Diesel was retailing for $0, 80 cents in Angola, $0, 70 cents in Botswana,
$0, 81 cents in Lesotho, $1, 09 in Malawi and $1, 11 in Zambia.
In Zimbabwe it is averaging $1, 18.
“The issue of being landlocked does not apply here, Zambia which is
further and its fuel passes through Zimbabwe every day is marginally
cheaper than our fuel,” Zec argued.
Government unilaterally enforced mandatory blending of petroleum products
almost four years ago, claiming it would bring down prices and reduce the
country’s import bill.
Official figures show Zimbabwe spends some $45 million each month to
The introduction of petrol blending has been a subject of fierce
opposition from motorists with a suit being filed at the Constitutional
Court to reverse the mandatory blending.
On Friday government announced it had petrol blending from 10 to 20
percent due to increasing supplies of ethanol.
In March, government had reduced to five percent from 15 percent the
mandatory amount of local ethanol to be blended with petrol as heavy rains
affected sugarcane fields.
Zimbabwe obtains ethanol from a $600 million sugar plant in the southeast
of the country which is jointly owned by a State company and private
investors which has capacity to produce 250 000 litres of ethanol a day.
This year’s heavy rains forced government to reduce the blending figures
to five percent, a period which also coincided with the annual suspension
of full-scale cane harvesting.
Between December and April, sugar cane harvesting is halted to enable
plant maintenance, leading to a moratorium in the production of ethanol.
The off-crop season is now over, and sugar milling has resumed, resulting
in a boost in ethanol supplies.