Fuel prices increase

HARARE - The price of fuel has increased marginally as the local market reacts to global developments.

A survey by the Daily News showed that service stations in Harare have adjusted their prices by at least two cents per litre, which is quite something in a United States dollar economy.

Petrol, which was retailing at $1, 38 is now going for between $1, 39 to $1, 40 per litre, while diesel is fetching $1, 31 from $1, 29.

Energy and Power Development minister Joram Gumbo told the Daily News yesterday that the local pricing of fuel was determined by international trends.

“As you know, fuel prices internationally have gone up,” he said.

“The price of fuel, however, is inspected by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera). They have certain charts that they use to deal with the fluctuations of fuel prices in terms of the exchange rate. So, the fuel price in service stations is always within the stipulated rate, they can’t sell using prices outside those set by Zera,” he added.

Gumbo said owing to the changes in the global market, the money being allocated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to the petroleum industry was no longer enough to buy the quantities that it used to buy before, thus creating a deficit.

He said this, compounded with some logistical challenges, has also resulted in the fuel shortages that have of late been experienced in the country.

“RBZ should increase the allocation to $25 million or $30 million, so that we have sufficient fuel in the country,” he said.

The Energy minister said because of the logistical challenges, some unscrupulous business people were now taking advantage of the situation by creating artificial shortages and increasing prices.

This has resulted in the booming of the black market, where prices are also inflated, as the demand continues to increase.

Zimbabwe has over the last few months been experiencing intermittent fuel supplies, which has been previously blamed on foreign currency shortages.

RBZ governor John Mangudya last week told the Daily News that they apex bank was allocating at least $20 million per week for the supply of fuel.

“We do allocate $20 million per week, which is $80 million a month and that’s a lot of money, because you are also aware (that) we are also allocating foreign currency to import wheat, which is basically to supplement local production.

“In fact, the local production is supplementing imports, because, if we produce 120 tonnes, it means it’s only good for three months; we spent about 40 000 metric tonnes, that’s about $16 million per month, over and above that you guys need (for) cooking oil, which is about $20 million per month, so it means that you need to export more,” Mangudya said.

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