Farayi Machamire 28 May 2017
HARARE – Zimbabwe has increased mandatory petrol blending from five
percent to 10 percent due to increasing supplies of ethanol.
This comes after government in March reduced to five percent from 15
percent the mandatory amount of local ethanol to be blended with petrol as
President Robert Mugabe’s cash-squeezed government sought to reduce its
fuel import bill.
Energy minister Samuel Undenge had slashed the blending levels pending
improvement of the situation.
Undenge on Friday increased the threshold as national ethanol supplies
“It is hereby notified that, the minister of Energy….in terms of section
4 of the petroleum regulations published in Statutory Instrument 81 of
2014, approved the increase of mandatory blending to 10 per cent,” he said
in a Government Gazette published on Friday.
“The consequence of this approval is that all licensed operators shall,
from the date of publication, be mandated to sell unleaded petrol blended
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;
and from Triangle, wholly-owned by South Africa’s Tongaat Hullett, which
also has a 50,3 percent stake in Hippo Valley. The Triangle plant has the
capacity to produce 3,6 million litres of ethanol, made out of sugarcane
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.
Official figures show the southern African country spends some $45 million
each month to import fuel.
This comes as Zimbabwe’s fuel prices have remained very high compared to
other countries in the sub-region despite government’s unilateral decision
to enforce mandatory blending of petroleum products almost four years ago,
claiming it would bring down prices and reduce the country’s import bill.
The E10 blend, which should be cheaper than unleaded fuel, is going for
between $1,35 and $1,39 per litre at service stations in Zimbabwe, which
is far more expensive than several countries in the region using unleaded
The country’s neighbours Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and
Swaziland all have cheaper petrol costing $1,06, $1,19, $1,08, $1,29 and
$1,14 per litre respectively.
In Zambia, a landlocked country like Zimbabwe, unleaded fuel is currently
selling for $1,10 per litre, while in Tanzania the commodity is selling
for $1,05 per litre.
The average pump price for unleaded fuel in South Africa is $1,09 per
litre while in Namibia petrol costs about $1 per litre.