RBZ secures US$50m fuel lifeline

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has secured a US$50 million line of credit to import fuel, central bank governor Gideon Gono said this week.



a, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>This comes at a time when a number of fuel importers have been accused of misappropriating foreign currency allocated to them to import fuel by the RBZ. This has led to erratic fuel supplies that have caused major disruptions to the transport sector and industry.

Gono said the RBZ was now dealing with 67 firms out of the registered 103.


“The central bank has in recent weeks secured lines of credit for fuel from both regional and international financial institutions to amounts in excess of US$50 million,” Gono said.


“However, the problem of fuel in Zimbabwe is not that of financial resources but of logistical constraints.”


He did not disclose the names of the financiers.


The country has been experiencing fuel problems with importing firms blaming the crisis on a shortage of foreign currency and transport constraints.


The situation was worsened by a decision by Sasol of South Africa to stop fuel exports two months ago. Although Sasol has now reversed its decision, the suspension of supplies greatly affected parts of the Midlands, and Matabeleland North and South.


Gono would not be drawn into saying whether the country needed so many fuel importers in the face of forex constraints and referred all enquiries to the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. Energy permanent secretary Justin Mupamhanga declined to comment.


“However, there are reforms taking place in the sector that should iron out logistical constraints,” Gono said without elaborating.


This week a number of fuel merchants were up in arms against the Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (PMAZ) for allegedly diverting $1 billion for fuel imports into bank accounts.


Feuding between indigenous and established fuel merchants has also worsened problems in the sector and affected the operations of the PMAZ.

Problems in the sector have been exacerbated by the shortage of foreign currency which has to be accessed through the auction system.


Gono said investigations of the fuel sector for abuse of foreign currency were still on-going.

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