THE country is expected to save at least $2 million every month in fuel imports following the gazetting of a 5% mandatory blending for petrol, a senior official with the Zimbabwe Energy Council (ZEC) has said.
Report by Mernat Mafirakurewa
Government last week gazetted Statutory Instrument 17 of 2013, paving way for the production of E5 by licensed ethanol blenders countrywide.
The introduction of blended fuel comes at a time when petrol prices have been on a steady increase costing between $1,51 and $1,59 per litre.
ZEC executive director Panganayi Sithole commended the government and in particular the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Chisumbanje Project on coming up with the statutory instrument.
“While Zimbabwe Energy Council would have been comfortable with a 10% mandatory blending, we believe that this is a strong starting point and will fully support government in this regard,” said Sithole.
“What is now very key and strategic is the immediate implementation of this statutory instrument so that the plant will start operating. It is very key that all stakeholders co-operate to enable the resumption of operations at Chisumbanje.
“Zimbabwe imports 30 to 40 million litres of petrol every month and this decision by Government will save the country between 1,5 million and 2,5 million litres which will translate into $2 million dollars every month. This is very great savings for a country that is hit by a high import bill.”
Sithole said the energy ministry would take a leading and decisive role in the implementation of the Statutory Instrument, adding that the recent developments should hopefully pave way for the re-engagement of the over 2 000 employees that had been laid off.
He said the benefit of the mandatory blending would trickle down to the motorists on the road, who will cumulatively enjoy significant savings.
“We call the Government to authorise the introduction of 20% and 85% blends, albeit on an optional basis,” said Sithole.
ZEC is the local representative of World Energy Council in Zimbabwe, a grouping of experts from around the world that discusses ways of building energy resources.