Govt to pounce on rowdy fuel dealers

GOVERNMENT is investigating errant fuel dealers who are blending fuel above the recommended ratios of ethanol and gasoline, short-changing consumers in the process.

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

The southern African nation has gazetted up to E20 blending ratio, consisting of 20% ethanol and 80% gasoline.

Energy and Power Development minister Fortune Chasi told delegates at the Institute of Chartered Accountants conference last Friday that the blending process was being audited in order to ensure adherence to the regulations, adding that dealers could be violating set procedures behind the scenes.

“Ethanol blending is a controversial issue. Know that there are issues around this. People think we are fudging or we are cheating and so forth. I want to confirm with you that the process has an audit trail that oversees it.

Members are saying, maybe in service stations something else is happening. I need to understand that further. But we must accept that there are people who don’t service their cars,” he said.

“There are many things, but when the public complains, we want to look into the issue. I have asked the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) to look into it.”

Local motorists consume two million litres of petrol and three million litres of diesel per day, respectively.
Early this year, Zera told NewsDay that it was carrying out investigations — in collaboration with the police — on fuel dealers accused of pushing the product to the black market, selling it at exorbitant prices. The results of the investigations have not been made public yet.

The Energy minister moved to clarify why different fuel prices were set in various cities and towns in the country.
“ I also want to take this opportunity so that you hear it from the horse’s mouth. May be accountants can help you on this because officials we have a habit of telling you things. So, you pick up fuel from Msasa and you want to take it to Mabvuku, that’s one operator. You then pick it up and want to take it to Victoria Falls. What is the cost structure? There are issues, isn’t it?” Chisi asked rhetorically.

“I believe people need to know. Whether something is right or wrong, they must know, isn’t it? I say, let’s not make it a secret that people pay a charge to cover the cost of distance where it is supposed to be sold. It is that move that has created the debate. The debate is good because it also speaks to why we do not have the pipeline in the southern part of the country, so the complaint is legitimate.”

Chasi said he could only tackle the challenges besetting his ministry through collective efforts
“I am going to skin (the snake) with your support, not alone because it’s a live snake. You need someone to hold the mouth, isn’t it and then skin it?” he said.

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