NOIC and the missing fuel: The truth shall set us free


WAS it not only a fortnight ago when we were told that government, through the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), had finally enacted an electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) that had been on trial since 2017? We distinctively remember Zimra telling us that the ECTS had so far “yielded positive results, which have been felt in the market”.

So if, indeed, this is the case as of two weeks ago when Zimra assured the nation that our hard-earned fuel will never feed the black market, how come the National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) is telling us that much of the fuel they are releasing at Msasa is going straight to the black market in broad daylight?

“There is need to address the price distortions on the market which is being manipulated by players in the fuel industry to drive up
their profit margins by pushing the fuel into the black market. It is clear that the fuel we release into the market is not being sold on the forecourt at service stations, but rather on the black market,” is what NOIC chairman, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, said.

Some questions immediately jump into our minds if this is really happening. So, is the ECTS malfunctioning? By saying there is need to
address the fuel price distortions on the market, is he insinuating that the official pump price is too low and must be increased again?

Does NOIC even have an inventory of who they give their fuel and where exactly they take it? If such a list exists, why is the
organisation not naming and shaming all those it gave fuel to and who it suspects are diverting the precious commodity to the black market?

Is Zimbabwe currently able to import enough to satisfy demand to the extent that we should believe that what NOIC is distributing can
satisfy demand?

We are afraid to say there are just too many grey areas regarding the country’s fuel situation for us to even start thinking of believing
that the five or so million litres of fuel NOIC pumped out between Sunday and Wednesday this week was enough to satisfy demand.

Because service stations have been dry for months and supply has never really normalised since last year, NOIC might just be pushing too
hard their luck so that we may swallow hook, line and sinker the naked lie that the five million litres should have stabilised the
country’s fuel situation.

Just for argument’s sake, as a way of highlighting our point: In 2014, Zimbabwe reportedly had 1,2 million vehicles, according to the Zimbabwe National Road Administration.

Barring the fact that five years later, the vehicle population is now way much higher; if all the 1,2 million vehicles were to go to the
service stations, they would each get four litres.
On average, small passenger vehicles — which are in the majority, have 40-litre tanks; and so the five million litres NOIC is harping
about as being enough to help stabilise the fuel situation, is a drop in the ocean.

NOIC should stop pulling wool over our eyes by telling us these incredible lies that they are releasing enough fuel when it does not need
a rocket scientist to tell us that the country simply does not have the foreign currency to import enough fuel to meet demand. Period!

This business of continuously using the black market as a scapegoat to cover up a failing system has its own limits. It is high time
critical institutions such as NOIC start telling us the truth in order to set us all free.

Source : NewsDay

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