GOVERNMENT and fuel dealers are set to enter fresh negotiations on pump prices as tariffs set last month have failed to improve availability of fuel.
Transport minister Amos Midzi last month announced the deregulation of the fuel industry saying private companies were now allowed to import their own fuel and sell at service stations.
The minister also announced a new tariff structure that pegged the price of petrol at $1 170 a litre and $1 060 for diesel. He said fuel imported by government for public transporters and government departments would continue to be sold at $450 for petrol and $200 for diesel.
Fuel Marketers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Masimba Kambarami this week said meetings with government had started to review the prices.
“The review of prices is monthly,” said Kambarami. “The last price increase was on August 27 and the next one is due,” he said.
Kambarami said the dealers held a meeting with government on Tuesday and another meeting was scheduled yesterday. He said the proposed new tariffs would still keep the price of fuel below $2 000 a litre. He said the government and marketers were negotiating with financial institutions for the availability of fuel currency.
Indigenous Fuel Marketers chairman Gordon Musarira could not comment on the issue, saying “there is nothing to say at the moment”.
The deregulation was last month shot down by indigenous players who said the new prices were untenable. The dealers said the prices did not take into cognisance that oil companies were obtaining foreign currency on the parallel market. The deregulation has not improved availability of fuel, which has remained available only on the black market.
Multinational companies sold fuel for less than a week after the announcement of the fuel prices on August 27 but have now stopped. Most of the fuel had been kept in storage in anticipation of price increases. Indigenous fuel dealers have on the other hand elected to defy the government directive and are selling fuel at prices as high as $3 000 a litre.