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Mobil selling assets

Godfrey Marawanyika

INTERNATIONAL fuel distributor Mobil Oil Zimbabwe has started disposing of its assets in the country, businessdigest can reveal. The fuel company has engaged a real estate agent to evalua

te the assets to be disposed of.

According to a letter written on November 2 to one service station dealer titled “Sale of Assets” by Mobil’s area manager for southern Africa, Goodmore Chatora, the firm will be conducting fuel tank integrity tests to determine their condition.

“Mobil Oil Zimbabwe’s contractors will in the next few days be conducting tank integrity tests to determine the condition of the tanks at your service station. Please afford them co-operation,” Chatora said.

“Should tanks be found to be in a sound condition, we will offer to sell them to you. In the event that you are unable to finance their purchase, we will offer them to other parties with whom you can enter into separate supply arrangements,” reads the statement on a Mobil letterhead.

Chief executive for Mobil Zimbabwe Nester Ankiba had not responded to written questions sent to his office on Monday to ascertain if the organisation is disinvesting from Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has been experiencing an acute shortage of fuel over the past five years owing to foreign currency shortages.

The government blames the scarcity of fuel on targeted sanctions slapped on the Zanu PF political leadership by Britain and its western allies.

President Robert Mugabe and his ministers were slapped with sanctions by the European Union and the United States following the disputed 2002 presidential election.

As part of plans to ease the crisis Finance minister Herbert Murerwa last week announced that fuel importers will now be accessing foreign currency using the inter bank rate.

Chatora recommended that after the completion of the disposal process the affected garages enter fuel supply arrangements with the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) who have the infrastructure and operational capacity.

“If the tanks are found not to be in sound condition, Mobil Oil Zimbabwe will not be able to sell them to you and might have to pull them out for environmental reasons. The other assets such as pumps will be sold to you regardless of the results of the integrity tests,” Chatora said.

“In the next few days and weeks our real estate agent Lead will visit you to negotiate the prices of our assets and will deliver the contracts for your signature. Once again we thank you for having partnered us over the years.”

Since August, the central bank has allowed the buying of fuel at selected garages using foreign currency.

The failure to supply fuel by Noczim has led to a number of garages retrenching whilst some service stations are importing directly and reselling the commodity at between $100 000-$115 000 a litre.

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