BY MOSES MATENGA/WINSTONE ANTONIO
THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) hiked fuel prices despite calls by the ruling Zanu PF party to stop “unjustified” price hikes at a time the country is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the new pricing structure that became effective yesterday, petrol is now selling at $104,82 from $99,35 or US$1,26 per litre from US$1,21, while diesel is now selling at $105,58 per litre from $100,91 or US$1,27 from US$1,23 previously.
The decision by Zera came shortly after Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo blasted unscrupulous businesses for hiking prices of basic commodities without justification.
“The revolutionary Zanu PF party is concerned by the recent spike in the cost of goods and services, particularly basic commodities. Such a development has no grounding in basic economics. It is merely a manifestation of greed in some of our business entities,” Moyo said.
“Surely, this practice weighs heavily on the poor and must be nipped in the bud. Certainly, the ordinary citizen needs protection. With COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the country, empathy should be at play in our daily relations.
“The deadly pandemic has not spared our economy hence the need to take care of each other.”
Observers have castigated the fuel price hikes saying they were likely to lead into soaring of prices for basic commodities and worsen the desperate situation.
Fuel price hikes have always been a source of instability in the country.
In January 2019, civilians took to the streets to protest against the fuel price increase announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa before soldiers opened fire on the protesters, killing 17 while thousands were injured in the skirmishes.
There were several allegations of rape perpetrated by the military with the international community condemning the acts.
This week, the United Kingdom placed security chiefs including State Security minister Owen Ncube, Central Intelligence Organisation boss Isaac Moyo, police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga and Zimbabwe’s Tanzania to Zimbabwe Anselem Sanyatwe on sanctions over their alleged role in the January 2019 killings.
The quartet was also sanctioned over their alleged role in the killings of six civilians during the post-2018 elections.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers Association president Denford Mutashu said the latest fuel price hikes would trigger a wave of price hikes in the market.
“Statutory fees are a cost to business and when they do go up, the consequence is sometimes felt through pricing of goods and services,” Mutashu said.
“That which drives parastatals to increase charges like tollgates and fuel is the same that drive price of goods and services.”
MDC Alliance secretary for transport Settlement Chikwinya condemned the fuel hikes saying: “The fuel hikes in such COVID-19-induced lockdown and harsh economic conditions are regrettable.
“This goes to show that our government is not people-centred and is out of touch with how the majority masses are suffering.”
He added: “Fuel is a major factor in transport costs and as such all goods and services that have transport as a cost factor will go up in response to the fuel price hike and all this burden will fall squarely on the
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