Zimbabwe spends US$79,5m on fuel

Ngoni Chanakira

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, once the country’s major fuel deal broker, says the country has so far spent US$79,5 million importing fuel.



=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The cash was raised from the weekly foreign currency auctions held by the central bank on Mondays and Thursdays.


Gono said this was against exchange control approvals for fuel for the period January 8 to May 27, amounting to US$115 million.


In an exclusive interview with businessdigest on Friday Gono said most of the foreign currency had been allocated to traditional fuel importer BP and Shell who received US$6,5 million from the amount which is 12,9% of the total proportion allocated by the central bank.


Following closely behind BP and Shell is Country Petroleum, which has received US$4,1 million from the central bank, which is 8,3% of the total figure.


There are currently 46 major fuel importers in Zimbabwe that benefit from the RBZ’s auction system.


Zimbabwe has been facing a serious fuel crisis resulting in kilometres of queues springing up countrywide.


However the fuel situation has improved a little but prices have been increased for the product.


“With the new auction system that we introduced in January it seems the fuel situation has improved,” Gono told businessdigest. “Cumulatively, a total of US$50,2 million was allotted at the auction so far for the importation of fuel and other petroleum products such as oils, gas, paraffin and lubricants, since the inception of the auction on January 12. The total amount allocated for fuel at the auction represents 17,8% of the total amount allotted through the auction of US$282,9 million as at May 27.”


He said other transactions for which foreign currency was being dished out by the central bank included pharmaceuticals, maize, seeds, aircraft and freight.


Gono, former chief executive officer of the Jewel Bank, has been at the centre of fuel negotiations with his institution bankrolling deals by organising off-shore funding for the commodity especially from Kuwait.


The prominent banker also facilitated trade deals between Zimbabwe and Malaysia, culminating in the latter agreeing to accept local currency in payment for imports.


Gono said in Auction 38, which was the last auction held at the time of the interview, oil companies submitted bids valued at US$3 million.


He said this together with the amount allotted through the auction brought the total amount of foreign exchange which went towards the importation of fuel to US$79,5 million.


Fuel importers who benefited from Auction 38 were Mobil Zimbabwe (US$764 000), BP and Shell (US$679 508), Wonder Petroleum (US$177 724), Caltex (US$125 226), FSI Trading (US$95 179), Mberengwa Enterprises (US$58 850), Fylke Trading (US$45 486), Velvet (US$17 903) and Wedzera (US$11 009).

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