Byo-Bots businesses to meet on fuel deal

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PARTIES to the fuel supply deal involving Bulawayo businesspeople and their Botswana counterparts are expected to meet soon to finalise logistical issues and pave way for implementation.

The engagement will seek to ride on the gains of the recent fruitful Bi-National Commission talks between the two countries, which saw Botswana pledging a one billion pula deal to assist investments into Zimbabwe.

Bulawayo businesspeople and their counterparts from the neighbouring country signed a memorandum of understanding to supply fuel into the city towards the end of last year and agreed to set up investments in different economic sectors in the city.

The fuel deal, which would also see Bulawayo businesspeople and Botswana investors co-operating in different areas, was facilitated by the office of the Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs, Judith Ncube, through the Bulawayo industry think-tank.

Chairperson of the Bulawayo Advisory Board and think-tank Mr Kwanele Hlabangana is expected to meet officials from Botswana tomorrow (Friday) to iron out some of the issues.

“The last time we communicated they were about to come to us. I think they were waiting for their government to endorse everything, remember their President was here recently . . . It is part of those deals and I will finalise that with them on Friday (tomorrow),” he said.

The investors from Botswana have hinted on plans to start with the fuel venture in Bulawayo before going national as well as tapping into other economic sectors such as manufacturing, diamond and pharmaceuticals.

The fuel supply deal was reached in light of the prevailing fuel supply gap in Bulawayo and the country at large.

Zimbabwe requires about 4,1 million litres of diesel per day and 3,8 million litres of petrol.

Meanwhile, the Government has liberalised the importation of fuel with Cabinet this week giving big companies with free funds the nod to import fuel for their own consumption.

The move is meant to augment supply gaps in the market and as part of measures to close the prevailing supply gaps during the course of the week eight million litres of diesel were released into the market.

In 2015, Statutory Instrument (SI) 171 was amended to allow the public to import up to 2 000 litres of fuel per month for personal use.

However, the legal framework was repealed two years later through SI 122 of 2017 which stipulated that only businesses licensed in terms of section 29 of the Petroleum Act were allowed to import fuel.

Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo has also highlighted that at the moment no individuals would be allowed to import fuel on their own.–chronicle.co.zw

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