THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) revealed that the recent fuel and cooking oil shortages forced it to draw down $25 million from the $600 million nostro stabilisation facility on Monday, after the country ran out of commodities. In an interview this week, RBZ governor, John Mangudya said in light of the shortages, which were promulgated by a shortage of foreign currency, the bank drew down on the $600 million nostro stabilisation facility for the importation of fuel and crude oil for cooking oil.
“We dispersed about $20 million to the fuel sector and $5 million for the importation of crude oil for cooking oil. The reason there are fuel shortages is that fuel deliveries are only allowed to be done during, day and not at night. I tried calling them (on Monday) to ask whether they could deliver at night, but they said cut off time for deliveries is 6pm, so fuel cannot be delivered after that time,” he said.
“The problem is market indiscipline. Like I said in an earlier interview, we have allocated foreign currency for the importation of basic commodities. For cooking oil, we have the capacity to produce locally for the entire market and should not be importing, putting strain on the nostro accounts.”
Last week marked the start of RBZ drawing down on the $600 million facility.
Fuel prices have shot up in the past two weeks to an average of $1,37 and $1,22 per litre for petrol and diesel, respectively, while diesel 50 is being sold for as much as $1,32 per litre as operators take advantage of shortages.
Insiders in the fuel sector say by putting a higher mark-up, fuel operators were hoping the extra cash would cater for the delays in foreign currency.
Zuva Petroleum chief executive officer, Bethwell Gumbo could neither confirm nor deny what the fuel supply situation was like for his company, merely saying “fuel shortages are a national issue”.
As of yesterday, the fuel situation had improved, although there were queues at Engen, Trek, Puma and Total service stations in the capital.–newsday