By Farai Matiashe/Ruvimbo Muchenje/Tatira Zwinoira
The Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority (Zera) has hiked fuel prices with effect from Monday next week amid a serious shortage of both petrol and diesel, leaving motorists stranded at empty pumps.
In a statement yesterday, Zera said the petrol pump price will increase marginally to ZWR$3,41 per litre starting Monday due to a slight increase in the free on board (FOB) price.
The increase in the FOB price for petrol will be to 0,5632 cents from this week’s 0,5493 cents.
The diesel pump prices will remain unchanged despite a decline in the fuel’s FOB price to 0,6169 cents from this week’s 0,6171. The FOB price is a charge in the fuel-cost-build-up as determined by international market forces at the port of delivery for the fuel.
“Please note that these figures take into account the revised excise duty, representing the maximum FOB and pump prices for the different fuels. Operators may however, sell at prices below the cap depending on their trading advantages,” Zera said.
A survey conducted by NewsDay in Harare yesterday showed that filling stations had long winding queues with a few lucky vehicles filling up on the scarce commodity. Many service stations had no fuel at all.
In January this year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa hiked fuel prices by over 150% to ZWR$3,31 per litre for petrol while diesel was pegged at ZWR$3,11 per litre.
But since then retailers have been hiking the product by a cent almost every Monday while the government remained silent.
Filling stations are currently trading fuel at a price between ZWR$3,34 and ZWR$3,40 while diesel between ZWR$3,15 per litre and ZWR$3,25 per litre. At the newly-opened service station along Samora Machel Avenue in Harare vehicles were meandering for a long distance through to Belvedere area.
“The queue is very long and one would think twice before joining it, but the fortunate thing is that it’s moving very fast. We are in the transport business and the time factor matters, hence a few hours lost in the queue affects the overall business and our timetables,” a public transport operator told NewsDay.
Tatenda Ngwenya, another transport operator who plies the Chinhoyi-Harare route said queues have been long and he has been roaming around filling stations for days in the capital.
Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) president Tafadzwa Goliathi said: “As the PAZ, we are not happy with what is going in the country, it is the ordinary citizens who suffer from decisions by the government. We did a survey in the morning (Tuesday) and we found out that passengers were stranded. From Mabvuku to town kombis were going for ZWR$2,50 while Chitungwiza to town it was ZWR$4.”
But Energy minister Joram Gumbo insisted that there were enough fuel stocks in the country.
“If you know the mandate of my ministry you would understand the situation of fuel shortages. My mandate is to facilitate companies that bring in fuel not to provide the money needed to buy the fuel,” Gumbo said.
“For procurement, that is the responsibility of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Finance. There is plenty and enough stocks of fuel at Msasa and Mabvuku. In Beira also fuel is being pumped into the country.”