THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has described as malicious fake news the reports circulating on social media that a major fuel price hike is imminent.
A message has been circulating on social media saying there will be major fuel price hikes to $5.50 and $5.15 for petrol and diesel respectively.
“Fake news,” said the statement released jointly by the central bank and the information ministry. The social media article is aimed at causing panic buying of fuel and should be treated with the contempt it deserves.
“For starters the alleged meeting at the RBZ with fuel suppliers never took place,” said the RBZ.
The Ministry of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting weighed in: “Most Fake News is not just a prank or messing about. There is a real damage to the economy and livelihoods.
“Real lives are affected when panic is injected into the market and distorts supply and demand. There is no fuel price hike on the way. Let us act and interact responsibly.”
In a televised address in early January, President Mnangagwa announced prices of petrol and diesel which were more than double to tackle a shortfall caused by increased demand and “rampant” illegal trading.
Petrol prices were raised from $1.24 a litre to $3.31 (2.89 euros) and diesel from $1.36 a litre to $3.11.
The president’s announcement came after fuel shortages which began in October last year worsened with motorists sometimes spending nights in fuel pump queues that stretch for kilometres.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) then called for a three-day stay away from work and school, which became violent and saw about 17 people dead and property worth millions of dollars destroyed.