Zimbabwe fuel suppliers who obtain foreign currency to buy fuel from the foreign currency auction market and then sell that fuel in United States dollars are committing two offences each time by depriving motorists of fuel in the local currency and avoiding proper tax by paying it in the local currency.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told the Senate yesterday that when the suppliers obtain the foreign currency the condition is that they should sell fuel in Zimbabwe dollars.
“They do not comply, they proceed to sell in USD. They also go further and pay the taxes as well which ought to have been paid in USD; they pay excise duty in ZWL. So, there are two offences here – depriving the public of ZWL fuel and then depriving the fiscus and the public of rightfully earning taxes,” Ncube said.
“That is an issue we are dealing with and we have decided to really narrow the space and put in a facility through NOIC so that it is part of the architecture of accessing the fuel in the first place, making sure that it is available in ZWL.
“It is our expectation that this will improve the availability in ZWL. The moment you have these kinds of Shenanigans, you also now have interplay between the fuel market and the parallel market feed into each other. People looking for arbitrage gaps, it is part of the game that they play but we are working hard to close that gap to make sure that the public are better treated by the fuel companies.”
Q & A
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. President. We have noted that petrol and diesel is not available in RTGS and in local currency. We have expressed our concern but we are not getting any feedback. We were told that this is going to be corrected but so far there is no response. My issue today is that even gas which is now being used in most urban households is not found in local currency. We know that we are facing severe shortages of electricity and as a result, many people are using gas. Does it mean that the country is going to full dollarisation whilst workers are not getting salaries in USD? This has put a lot of pressure on our people, so what is the Government doing to better the people’s livelihoods? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Let me thank the Hon. Senator for his pertinent question regarding petrol and diesel charges which are now being pegged in USD whilst our local currency is not being applied to petroleum.
Our currency is the ZWL, it is no longer referred to as RTGS, so the Hon. Senator is saying that local currency is in short supply. He also mentioned that gas is not readily available. Let me say that petrol, diesel and gas in local currency are in short supply. So the biggest thing that we need to do as Zimbabweans is to eliminate corruption before pointing fingers at the Government. The total eradication of corruption, our RBZ and the Ministry of Finance are busy promulgating legislation and policies which seek to guide the nation on fiscal and monetary issues whilst people are busy engaging in corrupt activities.
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