FUEL dealers in Bulawayo are crying foul over different wholesale prices they were being subjected to compared to their Harare counterparts, a move which they believe was meant to drive them out of business.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
According to a price sheet dated August 29 seen by NewsDay, Engen Petroleum Zimbabwe was quoting a selling price of $1,46 for petrol dealers in Harare, a dealer margin of $0,05 with the pump price being $1,51.
A profit margin of 3,42% is quoted.
But Bulawayo dealers had to pay $1,51 per litre, with a dealer margin on $0,05 and pump price of $1,53 realising a profit margin on 3,33%.
On October 17, the price structure changed resulting in dealers in Harare paying $1,48 per litre,a dealer marginof $0,05 and a pump price of $1,53.
A profit margin of 3,38% was quoted, while Bulawayo dealers were asked to pay $1,53 — same amount for a pump price in Harare — dealer margin was $0,03 and pump price of $1,56 with 1,96% as the profit margin.
The scenario was the same for diesel.
Contacted for comment, Engen managing director Cremion Mapfumba on Monday said the company did not discriminate according to regions and they would look into each franchise.
“If there are issues with dealers, we will sort them out. But the main point is, we don’t sell our products to motorists,” Mapfumba said.
“We have given franchise to dealers and if there are any sales misunderstandings we will look into it.”
Dealers said there appeared to be a plot to push out long-standing retailers, especially those in Bulawayo.
“Pricing policy has been progressively changed to favour the oil company at the expense of the retailer,” said one dealer.
“According to the law the retailer’s margin should be no more than 7,5 %. As can be seen from attached schedules, that margin has been reduced to as little as 1,3% for petrol in Bulawayo.This is all designed to make the retailer trade at a loss and eventually give up the site and thus make way for hand-picked persons. So much for black empowerment.”