Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo yesterday said he has engaged Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube to facilitate for the importation of fuel by mining companies to ease the demand for foreign currency on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
Minister Gumbo said current hitches in the fuel supply situation being experienced were being caused by forex shortages.
He also allayed fears that fuel prices will go up next week, saying Government had no intention of adjusting current charges.
To augment supply gaps in the market, Government has liberalised importation and given big companies with free funds the green light to import fuel for their own consumption.
A legal instrument is needed to effect the changes.
“I have also asked the Minister of Finance to allow mining companies with forex to import their fuel so as to ease the burden on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” Minister Gumbo.
“Cabinet has already taken a decision on that. The biggest problem is not about fuel per se, but provision of forex. We have facilities in place but those handling the finances have foreign currency challenges which were compounded by the cyclone disaster which happened recently.
“Resources and much fuel has also been going there. They are working on the allocation of finances, but they are a bit constrained, but things will normalise. I engaged the RBZ yesterday (Tuesday) and they have promised to pay for supplies to improve. We are also doing winter cropping and a lot of power is also needed and paid for to cater for that and this means the monetary authorities have to balance all this.”
He said pumping of fuel from Beira was going on smoothly and people should not panic as enough stocks were in the country.
“Our people should also not rely on social media,” Minister Gumbo said.
“Even after the cyclone, we resumed pumping on March 24 and fuel is coming into the country. Enough stocks are there in bond.
“We are negotiating with big companies like Trafigura and IPG with whom we have big facilities to understand our situation and give us a leeway as we mobilise funds to pay them. We have delayed and failed to meet our commitment because of the challenges we experienced recently.”
He said Government had no intentions of increasing the prices of fuel.
“Our people should also know that there is no consideration of increasing the prices at the moment,” he said.
“The only adjustments you will see are those determined by the FOB prices at Beira.”
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority announced this week that there will be a slight increase in the free on board (FOB) price beginning next Monday.