Saturday, 4 July 2020

CHASI : FUEL CRISIS TO PERSIST


THE government has admitted that the fuel crisis in the country will persist as it is facing challenges in getting enough foreign currency to purchase the product.

This comes as most fuel stations across the country have run dry, with the exception of those that sell the commodity in United States dollars.
  
MDC senator Elias Mudzuri had asked Energy minister Fortune Chasi during Thursday’s question and answer session in Senate on what the government was doing to end the crisis.
  
“I see so many queues every day, … People will not be able to do much work because they will be looking for fuel for hours on end. 

“I have been looking for fuel myself as a Member of Parliament for more than three months. I still have coupons from Parliament which are three months old. Also, we are looking at the public and the business community, how are we planning to service everyone with reasonable supplies of fuel?” Mudzuri questioned. 

In his response, Chasi admitted that they were facing challenges over the issue.
“I think the nexus between the availability of foreign currency and the availability of fuel in the country is known to all of us.  It is also common cause, I think, that over the number of months foregoing since the commencement of this pandemic, our capacity to generate foreign currency for our own purposes as a country was heavily affected. 

“All that being said, the government is working day in, day out to ensure that we put facilities in place for the importation of fuel and with the recently introduced foreign currency auction system, we think that there will be greater capacity to acquire foreign currency for fuel,” Chasi said. 

Before his response, Chasi’s deputy — Magna Mudyiwa — also said the issue of foreign currency was giving the government sleepless nights. 

“The shortage of fuel in the country has been on-going for some time now. The reason behind the shortage is that we need to import fuel from outside the country and we need foreign currency to do that. Although we have fuel in the country as usual at our tanks, we cannot, however, download that fuel and take it to the service stations because we have to make payment upfront. 

“I am sure during the lockdown period, there was a directive that retailers can sell their products in foreign currency if the people who want to buy the product have the foreign currency to do so,” Mudyiwa said.

This comes after fuel prices shot up by a massive 150 percent last week after the Zimbabwe dollar plunged during the first week of the foreign currency auction system. 

The price of fuel has gone up several times since January. Despite that, the country is getting intermittent fuel supplies, with long queues still being seen at service stations across the county.

Recently, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority said fuel prices would be reviewed every week after the government introduced the foreign currency auction system. Daily News

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