With an inevitable huge fuel price increase expected on Monday, unusually extra-long fuel queues in most urban centres have emerged as motorists try to get the commodity before the hike.
Zimbabwe’s fuel supply situation has been quite challenging for some time now with analysts citing low fuel prices compared to those obtaining in the region.
With signals by Government that fuel price will almost go up triple in price, motorists rushed on Saturday to fill up their tanks.
Commissioning Petrotrade’s solar-powered service station in Mabvuku this Friday, Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi said the low prices stimulated rent-seeking behaviour in the fuel sector causing artificial shortages.
“We are proposing that a new pricing structure that will put an end to these shortages because a lot of fuel was being diverted to the black market,” said the minister.
A sophisticated syndicate of dealers is accused of diverting fuel from service stations taking advantage of low prices and reselling it on the black market.
Zimbabwe uses about 1,5 billion litres of fuel annually, the same amount as Ethiopia, which has 100 million people, six times as many as Zimbabwe. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has reverted to a market-based us dollar exchange rate regime which once operational is expected to help reduce distortions responsible for artificial shortages.