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‘Allow fuel retailers to sell in foreign currency’

FUEL shortages have intensified in recent weeks leading to debate over the sustainability of continuing to have the imported product sold in bond notes and the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system or electronic dollars.

BY FREEMAN MAKOPA

Officially bond notes are pegged at par with the greenback, but the reality on the ground is that the bond note trades at 3:1 to the US dollar.

The anomaly has resulted in operators failing to restock as foreign suppliers require payment in US dollars.

President of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation- the country’s largest representative body of small-scale miners, Henrietta Rushwaya told the NewsDay that the fuel challenges had impacted on output from the miners.

“Our sector is saying designate service stations that will sell in forex, so that we go and buy fuel there. We are paid in forex, so we don’t have any challenge of paying for the fuel in forex because as it is operations are at a standstill. Designate service providers in the form of fuel that we pay in forex and see if we don’t buy that fuel from them because you are paying us 100% in forex so where do you think that forex goes, we must use it to buy fuel if need arises because we don’t want to wait for fuel whilst we have forex,” she said.

“We are facing challenges that some service stations are demanding visa cards and membership cards that we don’t have, we don’t deal with visa cards we have cash so give us those service stations that accept payment in cash.”

Small-scale miners contribute a large proportion of the country’s gold output.

Monthly production from the small-scale miners averaged two tonnes since the beginning of the year, but saw output for November drop by nearly 50% to just 602kg.

This was the first time this year that small-scale miners produced less than big mine houses.

Last year, Zimbabwe produced 28 tonnes and this year the country is targeting 34 tonnes but chances of attaining that output are increasingly getting slim.

Source : The Herald

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