Zimbabwe is not facing a shortage of fuel but a shortage of foreign currency- Energy Minister


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Energy Minister Joram Gumbo yesterday told Parliament that Zimbabwe was not facing a shortage of fuel but a shortage of foreign currency to buy the fuel that was already in the country.

“We have a month’s supply of petrol in the country.  We have about two million in Mabvuku and Msasa.  We have diesel in bond warehouse that can last for 23 days,” he said in response to a question about why the country had been experiencing fuel shortages since January.

“We also have the pipeline in Beira pumping fuel into the country.  Therefore, what we are facing are not challenges of fuel in the country but the shortage of foreign currency that is affecting the fuel situation to enable service stations to continue getting forex from the RBZ in order to feed the service stations.”

Gumbo said he had just been assured by the central bank before coming to Parliament yesterday that the bank had released foreign currency to the oil companies.

“Mr. Speaker, I talked to the Reserve Bank Governor.  He informed me that he had released funds and the five big companies in the country such as ZUVA, Engen and Sakunda which is Puma have started procuring oils…  We are hoping that by the end of the day, tomorrow and the following days, fuel will be available in the country,” he said.

Some economists have blamed the fuel shortages on a cartel which involves top politicians which is milking the Zimbabwean public and the government.

One of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s advisors Eddie Cross said cartels could have skimmed off as much as $2 billion through fuel deals over the past four years.

“Zimbabweans are incredibly patient and have put up with many failures of the State for many years. But the present shambles in the fuel industry simply goes too far. It is time heads rolled and those responsible punished. Enough is enough,” he said on his bog in February.

“I think it is clear to everyone that since 2014, a cartel of private and State interests has been taking massive profits from the system for their own benefit and to support the retention of power by our political elite. The sums involved are staggering for a small country like ours and could exceed US$2 billion in the past four years. That is more than the national health budget.

“It started in 2014 with a corrupt decision by the Minister of Energy to allow a private sector company backed by a multinational group, to take effective commercial control of the pipeline that supplies Zimbabwe with fuel. In the next three years this cartel manipulated the domestic prices for fuel and the tariffs on the pipeline to the extent of skimming off the system about US$1,5 billion in corrupt profits. Most of this massive flow of illicit resources, going to politically connected individuals, including the State President.”

Asked whether the President he was referring to was Mnangagwa, Cross said it was not him but former President Robert Mugabe but the cartel continued to operate.

(54 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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