Energy and Power Development minister Jorum Gumbo yesterday claimed that fuel companies were concentrating on supplying outlying areas resulting in a shortage of the commodity in urban areas.
Gumbo made the claims as long, winding queues resurfaced at most service stations in cities across the country, sparking fears of another crippling fuel shortage.
The availability of fuel had improved significantly after the government increased prices by 150%, but the meandering queues at service stations started forming on Friday.
Gumbo also blamed the shortages on alleged panic buying following rumours that the government wanted to increase the price of petrol from $3,32 a litre to $5.
“When the country was shut down last month, some oil companies who obtain fuel from Mabvuku and Masasa were not collecting fuel because they feared for the safety of their trucks, as a result there were no deliveries,” the minister said.
“So when they started deliveries they concentrated on towns, hence the situation had improved in the cities.
“But in all the other outskirts there was nothing and this is why I was expecting that by the end of this week those places that had no deliveries would also have received some fuel.”
He claimed the plan to stabilise fuel supplies in urban areas had been scampered by panic buying.
“I have been receiving messages that the fuel price is going up to $5 and the motoring public is again in panic mode,” Gumbo said.
“I do not know why some sections of the media are doing that.
“This is why at one point the internet was shut down, but let me beg the authorities not to shut it down because it disturbs me a lot in my operations.
“The fuel price is not going to be increased to $5.”
Gumbo claimed the country had enough fuel reserves at depots in Harare’s Mabvuku and Masasa depots.
“There is no need to panic at all, it’s all up to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and other companies to source their cash and buy the fuel, and it’s plenty,” he said.
Zimbabwe suffered one of the worst fuel shortages in history between December last year and January this year due to acute foreign currency shortages.
— The Standard