Fuel in Zimbabwe is part of the ecosystem of our economy and should be top priority when it comes to political and economic decision making. Fuel shortages have massive impact on the whole economy with service stations and the transportation sector already taking heavy losses from the prolonged and widespread fuel shortage, the impact on the economy has widened, with the transport operators taking at least part of their fleet off the road.
By Robson Melassi
It is sad to note that there are some opportunists who have seen this as chance to become overnight millionaires! They buy fuel from the service stations through ‘unorthodox connections’ and re-sell it on the black market at exorbitant prices, use the proceeds to buy more and the cycle continues.
While some are selling it in US dollars, ‘burn’ the US dollars on the black market to buy bond notes, use the bond notes to buy more fuel from these service stations, re-sell it USD and overnight they are millionaires! Daylight robbery to the desperate citizens who have no choice but to buy.
Parallel market deals are continuing to overshadow the economy despite prudent policies being put in place by government. Because of the difference in the official rate and the parallel market, you are bound to have rent-seeking behaviour where people take advantage and abuse facilities such as the ones we have had for fuel.
The government should come up with specific measures and timeframes. In the petroleum sector there is need to collaborate and regularise the situation as quickly as yesterday inorder to avoid an impact on public transportation, the transportation of goods and the supply of raw materials as well as the cancellation of services which come as a result of the suffocation of the service providers.
Zimbabwe recently experienced a spike in fuel shortages as investigations showed the country had consumed almost four hundred and eighty million more litres of diesel and petrol in six months between June and November last year than in the same period in 2017, a 77% extra, and more than US$200 million in foreign currency.
Because we have that difference in the official rate and the parallel market, chances are that we have distortions which corrupt people will seek to exploit. The prior lower prices of petroleum products had made Zimbabwe attractive to external consumers who flocked into the country to further contribute to the shortage.
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