The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has warned service stations not using their own offshore funds against charging fuel in forex only.
Zera said it is illegal for service stations that buy fuel using local currency to refuse to accept all forms of payment including mobile money platforms from motorists. The energy regulator said it is now working with law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance in the sector so that every motorist has access to fuel.
The development comes amid concerns from motorists in the country who are failing to fuel their vehicles as most service stations are demanding payment in forex.
In response to written questions, Zera chief executive officer Engineer Eddington Mazambani, said only operators who would have used their own offshore funds to source fuel may sell the product in the currency of their choice.
He said all operators are compelled to prove that they indeed used their own foreign currency sources to buy fuel should they be caught selling in foreign currency.
“It is illegal to refuse to accept all forms of payment (if fuel was purchased using local currency) and Zera is working with law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance in the sector. Only operators who would have used their own offshore funds to source fuel from the traders may sell the product in the currency of their choice,” said Eng Mazambani.
He said the country is saving about 20 percent on all fuel imports through blending.
While not giving exact figures, he said the savings are in the form of scarce foreign currency which would have been paid to fuel traders.
“The blending programme is indeed viable. Fuel blending is a Government programme which is in synch with regional and global trends as countries are shifting towards cleaner, renewable and environmental friendly fuels,” he said.
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC) chairperson, Engineer Daniel Mackenzie Ncube said there must be a law that compels service stations to implement dual pricing. He said dual pricing using the interbank rate of the day should be considered for ordinary people without access to foreign currency.
“We must see a pricing policy which enables motorists to buy using swipe or any other form of payment using local currency at the prevailing interbank exchange rate. We not saying service stations should run at a loss, no, we want dual pricing because we all don’t have access to foreign currency,” he said.
Eng Ncube said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe must give a directive on the issue of dual pricing.
“There should be a legal instrument to compel the service stations to implement dual pricing for the benefit of all people who need fuel,” he said.