Zimbabwe: Errant Fuel Dealers Face Arrest

Petroleum companies buying fuel in local currency and then selling it in United States dollars will face prosecution and other legal action, Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda has warned.

Speaking during the inauguration of the new Petrotrade board, he said Government would not tolerate such malpractices.

"Petrotrade is expected to desist from the industry malpractices such as the abuse of Government fuel financing facilities whereby some oil companies are receiving in local currency and selling fuel in US dollars. Such behaviour will not be tolerated in the industry and those found wanting will soon be brought to book," said Minister Soda.

"Currently, the energy sector is experiencing some stability in the supply of both petroleum and electricity despite the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.

He challenged the board members to lead the growth of Petrotrade and to achieve its set goals. "The board should lead the growth of the company which is a State enterprise and is expected to contribute to the economic development of the country," said Minister Soda.

"The Ministry of Energy and Power Development has a vision of achieving universal access to sustainable and modern energy in Zimbabwe by 2030 with its mission being to provide adequate and sustainable energy supply through formulation of effective policies and regulatory frameworks," he said.

The last Petrotrade board was appointed in 2011. The new directors are board chair Advocate Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, deputy chair Mrs Zanele Dube, Mrs Gladys Mumhure, Mr Simbabrashe Eric Mhuriro, Mrs Ferida Matambo, Ms Lilian Timveous, Ms Getrude Marabada, Mr Godfrey Ncube and Mr Dakarai Mukuku.

Minister Soda said the recently formulated policies on renewable energy and biofuels were in sync with the thrust of the Ministry on production, procurement and use of clean energy in the country as set out in the National Development Strategy1 (NDS1) through improving renewable energy supply.

He said the company should be guided by the dictates of the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), the energy regulator.

"During the NDS1, the nation envisages to produce 1 100MW of electricity through renewables. The expansion of the storage facilities for ethanol used for blending unleaded petrol from 5,3 million litres to 11,3 million litres will help to achieve the constant blending levels throughout the year," said Min Soda.

Minister Soda said Petrotrade should also lead by example in the implementation of Government policies and become the flagship petroleum firm.

"It is important to note that your company is regulated by Zera. As a Government owned company, Petrotrade is expected to be more exemplary and compliant with the various regulations governing the petroleum industry," he said.

"The board must also oversee the successful completion of the partial privatisation of the company following a Cabinet decision under the State Enterprises Reform Framework.

This is a very critical reform which is aimed at identifying a strategic investor for the company. The expectation is that the process of restructuring will increase the company's market share and representation in the fuel industry."

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