Fuel Bound To Be Sold In $US Only Soon
Local fuel stations will inevitably find themselves having to sale fuel in US dollars only following Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s proposal fuel importers should begin sourcing their own foreign currency to import fuel.
Ncube made the proposal in his monetary policy review statememt meant to ease the burden on foreign currency allocations from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
Given the growing demand for fuel on the back of industry revival, the apex bank has recently been cornered to increase weekly foreign currency allocations from $10 million to about $20 million to petroleum companies so as to ensure constant supplies on the market.
Ncube, said in his statement on measures to stabilise the economy said that the pressure on the RBZ to source and allocate foreign currency for fuel consumption on a monthly basis was “enormous”.
As such, he said, a long term solution to create a world-class “regional fuel dry port” out of the Mabvuku Loading Gantry and Msasa Depot fuel storage facilities was being seriously considered.
“A strategy in this regard will be developed and new investors invited, so that in the end the multiple fuel importers can source their own foreign currency in the market,” said Prof Ncube.
“The vision for this inland fuel port will turn it into a vital regional fuel port that will serve neighbouring countries. An additional pipeline could also be built from Beira to the fuel storage facility in order to increase capacity.”
Official statistics indicate that in the first four months of the year to April alone, the Reserve Bank had channelled about $474 million towards fuel importation, which was way above $383,1 million allocated by the bank during the prior comparative period.
Fuel tops the ladder of Zimbabwean imports along side industrial machinery, vehicles, pharmaceuticals, cereals, chemicals, iron and steel and fertilisers.
The country has in the weeks after the July 30 elections experienced sporadic fuel shortages as a result of foreign currency shortages.
Some filling stations in the capital have since stopped accepting mobile money transfers for fuel with most of them charging higher for local Bond Notes payments preferring foreign currency payments.
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