FUEL PROBLEMS IN HARARE
23 May 2018
Deputy Finance Minister Terence Mukupe on Monday spoke about the conditions that led to the increase in the price of fuel in the country during an interview with Star FM’s Phathisani Sibanda on the station’s 326 express show.
In the interview, he made it clear that the price of fuel in the country is too high and attributed this to unfair duties charged on the precious liquid.
“Firstly I think President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa was clear, he said that he wants the price of fuel to come down. That’s why the first think he did was to reduce taxes on fuel. But the issue is right now you buy fuel at about 55 cents in Mozambique. Then duties are almost another 50 cents; so we are putting taxes and duties that are almost another 100 percent,” he said.
He stressed that reducing the price of fuel is a gradual process which government was willing to undertake.
“We are responsible for that (duty imposed on fuel) as Ministry of Finance but almost 60 percent of our money in the budget is funded by duties that we get from fuel. But if we cut those duties overnight to just say, from 50 cents we are cutting to 30 cents, the 20 cents we would have removed has to come from somewhere. That is why the President said it has to be a gradual decrease, a gradual decline where we must look and make sure our industry is now pumping. There are only about 30 percent of companies paying their taxes. We must increase the companies paying taxes and reduce the price of fuel.
“The increase in the price of fuel, was caused by a respective increment in the price of fuel at the port. You saw what happened in Iran, they are now under sanctions from America so Opec (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) reduced production so the price of fuel shot up and so did the price in Mozambique thereby affecting prices in Zimbabwe.”
Hon. Mukupe said plans must be put in place for the country to stop suffering from every change in global fuel price.
“We are affected by what happens in the global price of fuel but what we must do is have a reserve fund which we can dip into should prices fluctuate so we can maintain stability so that we are not affected by every little global price fluctuation.
“So we must start by fixing that so that there are strategic reserves for some of those line items. We must keep such funds aside so that we normalize prices even when there are fluctuations.”
The price of petrol has gone from as low as US$1.31 to US$1.41 over the last few weeks and the scarce availability of the commodity over the past few days has led to queues and panic from most motorists.
. . . Motorists appeal to fuel suppliers
MOTORISTS felt robbed by fuel suppliers accusing them of creating artificial shortages.
One of the motorists who spoke to H-Metro at a service station along Glenara Road in the light industries told H-Metro that Government must deal with fuel suppliers.
“I have been roaming around searching for fuel and most of the service stations are saying they are running short of fuel.
“I’m starting to think the shortage is not legit instead a well-planned game because stations like Total are demanding total fuel cards.
“We hope Government will take drastic steps in controlling the chaos that is being caused by fuel suppliers,” said the motorist.
He added that this issue is going to lead to the rise of other economic problems such as black market and corruption.
In a survey conducted by H-Metro, motorists said they were not aware of what was really transpiring in the city concerning fuel.
“We don’t understand what is happening because it all started with price increases and then extended to a shortage.
“Petrol has become a major problem as most filling stations are in short of it. However, diesel is available at a number of filling stations.
“We are starting to think there is an agenda behind the shortages because most of the stations are secretly selling fuel at night,” motorists said.
A Total Service Station attendant said they have fuel but were only selling to those with their fuel cards.
“We are not accepting cash, it is an order from the authorities so we are just doing our job,” he said.
. . . Motorists in panic mode
FORGOTTEN queues of motorist at filling stations have re-emerged in the Harare Central Business District with some service stations no longer accepting coupons.
In a survey carried out by H-Metro in the capital yesterday, most filling stations were no longer accepting coupons.
There was a long queue at Puma Service Station, along Sam Nujoma Street while at Zuva, Trek, Glow Petroleum, and Map Petroleum service stations had smaller queues.
In an interview with H-Metro, Charles Pin who was also in the queue said some of the filling stations are no longer accepting coupons citing challenges in importing the product.
“Some filling stations are no longer accepting coupons of which we do not have money as they cannot import fuel using coupons.
“May the government address this situation with immediate effect as fuel shortage affects the day to day running of any business,” he said.
Commuter Omnibus operators, who spoke to H-Metro, were frustrated saying their business has been affected.
“It’s now 30 minutes waiting to get fuel – the queue is too much.
“This affects our business because I need to rush to look for customers, but I have no option, I have to wait,” said Tafadzwa Mereki a commuter omnibus driver.
“I came all the way from Avondale, there is no fuel and filling stations like Total are only accepting those with Total cards.
“The fuel prices here have gone up, I used to buy at $1, 35 but today I bought at $1, 41,” said Tendai Mataranyika one of the motorists queuing for fuel.
Gladmore Chiundura, a fuel attendant at Total Nelson Mandela Avenue service station where it was reported that fuel had run out, said: “We are not experiencing any shortages here and we have never spent more than four hours without fuel, we are expecting delivery anytime soon.”