Govt explains diesel shortages

HARARE -  Government has apologised for the current shortages of diesel on the market which it said had been caused by a “logistical” glitch.

This comes as most garages are struggling to raise money on time to pay for their stocks from fuel companies who traditionally have demanded payment in advance.

The challenges to raise enough cash for payment to fuel companies has been necessitated by the recent increases in prices of both petrol and diesel which sources said explains queues at some of the garages, especially those in high density suburbs where motorists are struggling to fill their tanks.

Responding to the diesel shortages, government said it had “rectified” the problem which it said had been caused by purchasing more petrol stocks than diesel.

 “Government apologises for the logistical glitch which resulted in fuel retailers ordering more petrol than diesel giving rise to diesel shortages.

 “The situation has been attended to and normalcy in the fuel retail sector is expected to have been attained within the next few hours,” government said on Twitter.

Business urged government to act on the diesel “shortages” which it said was impacting negatively on transportation of goods.

“Consistent fuel supply is very key to economic progress and we need to ensure that there are minimal glitches on supply side because it might portray a negative image unnecessarily.

 “The respective ministry should work closely with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to ensure that at any given time there is adequate fuel supply.

“As private entities, we depend on availability that is guaranteed by government so we are hopeful that this is a temporary glitch that will not happen in the future,” said Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu.

Zimbabwe was last month thrown into a fresh and mega crisis when angry protesters flooded the streets of Harare, Bulawayo and several other towns across the country, demonstrating against sharp fuel price hikes.

The steep fuel price hikes were announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa ahead of his trip to Eastern Europe.

Property worth millions of dollars was also destroyed and looted in the mayhem which ensued, after thousands of workers heeded the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU’s) three-day strike call. 

At the same time, security forces unleashed a brutal crackdown against the protesters, the opposition and civil society leaders — in a move which received wide condemnation in the country and around the world.

At least 20 people are now said to have died, while nearly 100 others have been treated for serious gunshot wounds, according to rights groups and medical doctors.