SHIPPING agents at Beitbridge Border Post yesterday said they had observed a sharp increase in bulk fuel imports from South Africa, as the country moves to restore normal supplies following last week’s shortages.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
“I cleared 19 by 30-tonne tankers last week and more fuel is coming in. There are other agencies, who are also clearing the same type of commodity and activity has been high since in the past week,” a clearing agent, who refused to be named, said.
“More trucks are coming and this is not blended, but unleaded fuel destined mostly for the southern towns of the country.”
A customs and excise official at Beitbridge confirmed there had been an increase in fuel imported for domestic use and not in transit.
“There has been a marked increase in petrol and diesel imports,” the officer said.
The government last week blamed fuel shortages on foreign currency shortages and what it termed “adverse international market forces”.
Energy and Power Development minister Simon Khaya Moyo last week said efforts were underway to restore normal fuel supplies after most parts of the country started experiencing shortages.
Moyo said there was an unprecedented increase in fuel consumption in the past three months, with demand for petrol and diesel going up by 22% and 8%, respectively.
The Reserve Bank, he said, had been allocating money for fuel importation to oil companies at an average rate of $10 million a week, without heeding the adjustments in demand.
Motorists have welcomed the South African unblended fuel they said gave them slightly longer distances than the blended, which finishes fast.
Zimbabwe uses blend, a mixture of petrol and ethanol, a by-product of sugar cane, which motorists have described as harmful to their vehicle engines.