Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter—
Government has doubled the weekly foreign currency allocation for fuel importation from $5 million to $10 million as part of measures to address shortages on the market. It has also facilitated the procurement of 20 million litres of fuel by oil companies and is now allowing delivery of fuel at night in Harare. The National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) is loading fuel 24 hours a day at Msasa and Mabvuku depots until the situation normalises.
These measures were announced by Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge at a Press conference in Harare yesterday. He said they were working with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA)to address fuel shortages. “We have facilitated the procurement of 20 million litres of fuel made available to oil companies to ensure adequate fuel at service stations,” said Dr Undenge.
“We have also increased foreign currency allocations towards fuel procurement to $10 million weekly from the previous range of $5 million and $7,5 million. “NOIC in the meantime is loading fuel 24 hours a day at Msasa and Mabvuku depots until the situation returns to normal, therefore, we have waived restrictions of fuel delivery in Harare during the night. The international fuel traders continue to pump fuel into the inland bonded storage to ensure continued security of fuel supply in the country.”
Dr Undenge urged oil companies to channel all the allocated foreign currency towards importation of fuel. “Oil companies must also plan their deliveries in good time and to quickly alert the authorities of any likely fuel stock-outs,” he said.
“As the situation is being addressed, motorists must not hoard fuel or buy volumes of fuel not intended for immediate use. There is no need to do so.” Dr Undenge blamed the situation on the market to panic ignited by social media reports. “This was triggered by social media reports which painted a very negative picture in terms of fuel supply despite several assurances by the Reserve Bank that allocations towards fuel procurement had been increased,” he said.
Minister Undenge urged motorists not to panic, as the country was holding over two months supplies of diesel and over a month’s supply of petrol in bond at the NOIC depots. “Motorists must not be influenced by negative publicity mainly through social media, some of which is simply intended to tarnish the image of the Government,” he said. Dr Undenge assured the nation that there would be adequate fuel supplies throughout the country.
“I also expect that all stakeholders co-operate and play their part to ensure the success of the measures I have put in place,” he said. Some fuel dealers had taken advantage of the artificial shortage of fuel to raise prices by a few cents, while others were rejecting swipes and Ecocash transactions, as they insisted on cash.