Prices of liquefied petroleum gas have almost doubled in recent weeks as a result of critical shortage on the local market emanating from the shutting down of refineries in neighbouring South Africa.
Zimbabwe imports the bulk of its gas from South Africa — hit by critical shortages emanating from a shutdown at three oil refineries in South Africa, with only Sasol’s Secunda plant running.
It is not known when the supply will normalise.
A statement by Afrox South Africa said South Africa itself is experiencing a shortage of household gas.
A survey in Harare indicated most traders had run out of gas and as a result of the shortage prices have shot up to as high as $6,50/kg up from an average of $3,50.
Thousands of households have resorted to using gas for their needs as a result of the erratic power supplies by Zesa while it is also critical for several economic sectors such as hospitality, mining and hospitals, which also use it as a substitute.
It is expected restaurants, hotels and lodges will begin to feel the pressure if the shortage persists.
It is believed the gas shortage in South Africa is not only because of the shutdown of refineries for maintenance, but because their government has placed a cap on the price of gas.
A spokesperson for one of top two LPG gas suppliers in South Africa, Afrox, last week said the situation was dire and there was no solution in sight.
“In the last six weeks a number of refineries experienced unplanned shutdowns for various reasons – four in total – and it severely impacted on local production of LPG, which is a by-product of crude oil refining,” said Afrox spokesperson Simon Miller.