Govt Departments in Fuel Crisis

A FUEL shortage is looming in the country amid revelations that government departments have run out of fuel.

Officials at National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) on Tuesday told businessdigest that most government departments had not received consistent fuel supplies since December because of foreign currency shortages.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono  however said shortages of fuel were as a result of the proliferation of counterfeit coupons which did not tally with the amount of fuel on the market.

Gono said preliminary investigations by the bank show alarming discrepancies between the quantities of coupons held by the issuers in the form of booklets, against the corresponding stocks of fuel on hand at the respective fuel companies.

In addition, a growing number of fuel coupons are being dishonoured by fuel dealers, as some of the issuers of these coupons are not authentic, an indication that the whole system is prone to fraudsters apart from government failure to import fuel.

The prices of fuel is ranging from US$0,70c to $1,20.

businessdigest understands that government, which is currently cash-strapped, was planning to float bonds in US dollars to raise money which among a host of “other needs” would be channelled toward fuel supplies.

Some companies have not received fuel for the past three weeks despite having paid for the product to Noczim. Investigations by businessdigest reveal that most government departments did not have fuel.

Officials at Noczim told businessdigest this week that the parastatal also had a huge backlog on fuel deliveries to the companies.

“Every time we call Noczim there is a different explanation. Government does not have the foreign currency to import its own fuel,” said the official.

The government has also been dithering on licensing more private fuel companies. Fuel companies are licensed every month. So far only three companies have been licensed by the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.

The three companies are Ekaya, Redan Petroleum and Caltex. More than 20 companies are yet to be licensed. The delay in licensing companies has created serious shortages on the market.

BY PAUL NYAKAZEYA

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