Thursday, January 24, 2019

ED’s Fuel Sector Interventions Pay Off
25 JAN, 2019 - 00:01
Herald Reporters

Normalcy has returned to Zimbabwe’s fuel sector as queues have dissipated while the black market has all but vanished, The Herald has established. A survey by The Herald yesterday showed that, after a number of troubled weeks, fuel was now readily available at most service stations, something that has been attributed to President Mnangagwa’s interventions that ensured better supplies and stopped wastefulness.

And the country could now notch up the much-needed savings on foreign currency on the back of less demand, as fuel contributed to about half of the money for imports.

In separate interviews, Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya confirmed the developments, noting the positive trajectory in the sector.

Government is set to introduce more measures to ensure uninterrupted supply.

Dr Gumbo explained after the recent fuel price adjustment, which reduced market distortions and arbitrage, fuel was now available on the market.

“Before the price adjustments, people were speculating and this led to hoarding of the commodity. Now that people have realised the fuel is available at the latest prices, there is no longer hoarding of the commodity. We are happy about the improvement and we hope it continues to be like that,” he said.

Dr Mangudya, assured the nation of a sustained supply of fuel moving forward.

The central bank chief said while it was too early to give exact figures on the decline of the foreign currency demand, the bank has of late noted a substantial drop on foreign currency demand.

“It is a bit too early for the bank to give exact figures on the current fuel consumption as we are round about two weeks with the new pricing system,” said Dr Mangudya.

“But two things that I can assure you are that, number one; we now have adequate measures in place to make sure that we continue with the availability of fuel that we are currently witnessing in the economy.

“Secondly; we have noted a decline on the foreign currency quantum that we were spending on fuel importation since the adjustment of the price and like I said before, we will give exact figures in a week’s time,” he said.

The decline in fuel expenditure, that is, cutting down on non-essential or luxury use that had become the norm, is set to feed into Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube’s plan to cut expenditure and the country’s trade deficit in line with the “Austerity for Prosperity” theme of the 2019 national budget.

Prior to the price adjustment and in December, Zimbabwe had recorded a 100 percent increase in fuel consumption which saw imports hitting 4, 1 million litres of diesel per week and 3, 8 million litres of petrol per week.

Motorists are happy.

A motorist, Mr Aleck Binaure, hailed Government for addressing the fuel situation.

“Hopes are now high that the situation will remain stable. Fuel supplies improved this week with most service stations getting petrol and diesel deliveries.

“We are now re- fuelling without queuing. We hope the situation will remain like this,” he said.

Another motorist Mr Jabulani Mutenga said, “Fuel shortages had been caused by panic buying and opportunists who were hoarding the commodity and reselling it at the parallel market but now that fuel is readily available. We no longer buy on the parallel market,” he said.

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