Service stations in most parts of the country are still struggling to secure adequate fuel to meet demand, resulting in long-winding queues at pump stations with the product in stock.
A survey by the Daily News has shown that a number of service stations around Harare and elsewhere have run dry and their workers were busy turning away motorists.
It is becoming a common sight, seeing motorists pushing their vehicles to nearby pump stations or leaving them by the roadside after running empty. It is now being feared that the shortages could ignite a black market for the product, resulting in price increases and upward pressures on inflation.
“It seems we are going back to the time of fuel shortages when we used to spend our time waiting for fuel in queues,” said one motorist, Tapiwa Chabata.
A Kombi driver who only identified himself as Tatenda said he was now keeping precautionary fuel stocks at home so that his business does not get affected by the shortages.
“History has taught us that in Zimbabwe nothing should be taken for granted,” he said.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Sifelani Jabangwe told the Daily News on Tuesday that industry has been negatively affected by the shortages.
“As industry, we are losing a bit of time in queues but the fuel is there and we know the problem is coming from (increased demand); it’s an indication of growth. The amount of fuel which was adequate previously is no longer adequate now, which means there is economic growth,” Jabangwe said, while calling on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to increase the amount of foreign currency allocated towards fuel imports.
Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) chief executive officer Gloria Magombo, recently told the Daily News that suppliers were finding it difficult to meet demand for fuel and this was contributing to panic buying and artificial shortages that are emerging throughout the country.
She said the demand for fuel has increased significantly, also affecting supply demand balance since the coming in of the new dispensation with demand of petrol increasing by over 20 percent and that of diesel by over eight percent in the first quarter of 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017. Magombo said Zera was working around the clock to address the obtaining crisis.
“The status of supply needs to be updated later in the day as we expect it to improve as necessary steps are being taken to address the supply demand balance,” she said.
Magombo also disclosed that the increasing prices of fuel at pump stations was a result of a global rise in crude oil prices and the fact that at present, the country had suspended ethanol blending, which helps suppress costs.