LEGISLATORS yesterday grilled Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) chief executive officer Gloria Magombo over the price of Billy Rautenberg’s Green Fuel ethanol, which is 11 cents more expensive than the ethanol being produced by Triangle Limited. BY VENERANDA LANGA
The ethanol pricing issue came out during a sitting of the Temba Mliswa-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, where Magombo appeared before the committee together with Energy minister Simon Khaya Moyo and ministry secretary Partson Mbiriri to speak on the energy sector.
Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T) asked Magombo to explain why imported ethanol from Brazil and South Africa was cheaper than ethanol from Chisumbanje and Triangle.
“It is true that Chisumbanje and Triangle are now producing ethanol, and the price of ethanol from Triangle is 88 cents per litre, while that from Chisumbanje is 99 cents per litre, and the price of ethanol from Brazil is cheaper at 60 cents to 65 cents per litre,” Magombo said.
“However, to import fuel will not make economic sense to the country because the free on board (FOB) price of ethanol and petrol is 60 cents.”
Magombo said the two ethanol plants produce using two different methods, with one producing directly from sugar.
“We have made recommendations for Chisumbanje to install a plant to also produce sugar so that their operational costs go down,” she said.
But Mliswa questioned why there was a difference of 11 cents between Chisumbanje and Triangle ethanol.
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“Where is the 11 cents going to? Is there political interference because we know that it is (Billy Muller Conrad) Rautenbach? Who is getting that 11 cents and why are you not bringing the price down? The Greenfuel price is too high and he is even making more money than the international market,” Mliswa said.
Magombo said the price of ethanol is determined by government and not by Zera.
She said they had approached the ministry to tell them that the price was too high.
Mbiriri said the price was determined by the Office of the President and Cabinet.
Meanwhile, Mbiriri told the committee that negotiations were underway to review the price of fuel downwards, which was causing problems on the ease of doing business in the country.