Andrew Muvishi and Prince Mukuna
The fuel supply situation is expected to improve significantly as Government has instituted a raft of measures to ease the plight of consumers.
Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo yesterday said the National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) was continuously pumping fuel into the country 24 hours a day to ensure availability.
Distribution was also being done round the clock.
“The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) waived the restriction on night deliveries up to January 31, 2019 and the ethanol mandate was reduced to E10 and current supplies are meeting market demand,” said Dr Gumbo.
He said statistics on daily fuel uplifts from NOIC depots showed that the market should be reasonably supplied with fuel, which is, however, not the case.
In this regard, Dr Gumbo said the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), with the assistance of the police, was clamping down on hoarding and dealers who were breaking the law.
“There are reports from the public that some service stations are pretending to have stocked-out, with the intention of reserving fuel for parallel market purposes, while others have taken to overpricing and/or demanding payment in United States dollars only,” he said.
“Zimbabwe Energy and Regulatory Authority, with the assistance of the Zimbabwe Republic Police are monitoring the situation and will descend heavily on any offenders.
“It was agreed that should any company or its dealers be found to be on the wrong side of the law, then its license will be cancelled.”
Dr Gumbo was speaking soon after a meeting with the oil industry during which he said they had managed to clear a lot of grey areas.
These, he said, were the rise in international fuel prices which were not matched by foreign currency allocations and the release of funds for fuel in the form of Letters of Credit which took longer than expected to operationalise, leading to stock outs, panic buying and hoarding.