Zimbabwe: Govt Clears Air On Fuel Prices

Angry Citizens in Zimbabwe shutdown protests.
12 January 2019

Government has not authorised service stations to sell fuel in US dollars only, so dealers should consider all currencies in the basket, including the bond note which is pegged at 1:1 with the USD, the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services has said.The ministry said this on its Twitter handle yesterday, adding that all currencies in the multi-currency basket, including bond notes, remain legal tender for fuel transactions.

"There is no Government policy allowing all petrol stations to sell fuel in US dollars only," said the ministry. "Cabinet has not approved such an arrangement.

"All currencies in the basket, including bond note which is pegged at 1:1 with the USD, are an acceptable form of tender. There is no discretion to exclude other currencies in the basket.

"Fuel stations are advised to limit the number of cars on the forecourt at any one time so as to avoid a disaster in case of a fire."

The ministry said there was no room to stop customers from transacting in any currency in the multi-currency basket.

The statement by the ministry put paid to some messages, especially on social media platforms, that some fuel outlets had been allowed to trade in US dollars.

The ministry said Government had not come up with any measures to ration fuel purchases, but noted that operators had proposed the idea to ensure equitable distribution of the commodity.

"Government does not have a fuel rationing system. However, fuel retailers have suggested limiting the amount one person can buy in order not to run out after only serving a few customers," said the ministry.

"This is the retailers' efforts to be fair and to ensure equitable access to the commodity."

In an interview, Secretary for Information, Publicty and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana urged the public to report operators demanding US dollars only to regulatory authorities.

"People should report such practices to the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority," Mr Mangwana said.

The statement by the ministry follows an announcement by Zera that prices of petrol and diesel had slightly gone down.

According to the statement, the price of diesel that was previously $1,34 per litre, but is now at $1,25, while petrol which was $1,38 now costs $1,32 per litre.

Zera said the prices which were implemented recently were in line with Statutory Instruments 20 and 100 enacted in 2015.

Zera notified members of the public that uel stations were at liberty to sell the commodity at lower prices "depending on their trading advantages."

The energy regulator added that the free on board (FOB) price for diesel was pegged at 0,5434c per litre, while petrol was at 0,4726c.

"Please note that these figures take into account the revised excise duty and represent maximum FOB and pump prices for the different fuels," said Zera.

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