Most service stations across the country have received significant amounts of fuel over the past week with daily allocations increasing to at least five million litres of both diesel and petrol from the usual 3,8 million.
This follows Treasury’s issuance of letters of credit that have unlocked supplies which had been bonded at Msasa depot in Harare.
While queues of motorists seeking fuel have been the order of the day, the release of the guarantees of payments has triggered movement of petrol and diesel to service stations ahead of the Christmas holiday this week.
National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) board chairperson Engineer Daniel Mackenzie Ncube said the fuel allocation, which started last week, was expected to see the situation improve further during the week.
“On average, 3,8 million litres of both petrol and diesel was being allocated to the market every day. However, we have increased that allocation to five million and in some instances six million.
“We are cognisant of the fact that it is the festive season and that people are travelling. Thus we are seized with improving the situation,”he said.
A survey at service stations countrywide showed that most had received both diesel and petrol ahead of the Christmas holiday.
In Harare, many fuel stations had the commodity, whilst in Victoria Falls and Hwange there were few motorists queueing.
In Kwekwe, by midday yesterday, some service stations were serving few motorists whilst in Masvingo and Mutare the situation had improved significantly.
In Bindura service stations had started, mid-last week, to receive petrol and diesel and in Chinhoyi outlets such as Total, Zuva and Glo Petroleum had the product and no queues.
“We are also working with ZERA because the issue of fuel is two-fold. First, it has to do with supply gap which we are trying to cover by the increase and there is also the issue of fuel that is being diverted to the black market,” said Engineer Mackenzie.
Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) acting chief executive officer Mr Edmore Mazambani said the situation was set to improve due to the issuance of letters of credit.
“The situation should be improving. I understand there are some letters of credit which had expired but were recently renewed. Some service stations have started getting fuel,” he said.
However the Indigenous Petroleum Association of Zimbabwe (IPAZ) is not happy with the issuance of the letters of credit claiming they had been availed to the big players at the expense of the small ones.
IPAZ chairperson Mr Aaron Chinhara said: “We, as IPAZ, have the largest market share as we control and own over 50 percent of the fuel service stations in the country. However, IPAZ members only get fuel when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe makes an allocation once a month.
“We think those companies that receive the letters of credit should consider selling some of their fuel to IPAZ members at wholesale prices so that we stop the long queues.”
Zimbabwe has been facing fuel challenges because of foreign currency shortages.
However, the situation has been exacerbated by some unscrupulous dealers who divert fuel to the black market creating artificial shortages.
Source – Sunday Mail