Parly Questions Undenge’s Dealings

Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge was taken to task by members of the National Assembly recently for failing to adequately answer why his ministry had established a new fuel retailing company, Genesis, when Petrotrade, which does the same job was already in existence.

Dr Undenge was asked by Binga North representative Mr Prince Sibanda why Petrotrade had gone for two years without a board and to explain the rationale behind the formation of Genesis by the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC).

“First of all, competition is a healthy thing and we need competition because in the end the customer benefits,” Dr Undenge said while responding to Mr Sibanda’s question.

On the board for Petrotrade, Dr Undenge said discussions to merge Petrotrade and NOIC to “achieve economies of scale” are on-going.

Dr Undenge added: “Competition is a healthy thing, such a thing is not confined to the private sector, for example we have Meikles which have such stores as Greaterman’s, Barbours, Meikles Mega Stores and TM Supermarkets.”

Mr Sibanda then asked Dr Undenge why Genesis had been formed if there were talks to merge NOIC and Petrotrade.

Mabvuku-Tafara representative Mr James Maridadi interjected, accusing Dr Undenge of misleading the nation.

“The minister is misleading the nation because the stores he has mentioned target different market segments, they are not in competition with each other,” he said.

“Some target the high end of the market and some the lower end.”

Zvimba West representative Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi, also queried Dr Undenge’s responses, saying he had not explained how the customers were going to benefit from the competition between Genesis and Petrotrade.

“What we know about competition is that prices of commodities will eventually come down for the benefit of customers,” he said.

Dr Undenge reiterated his earlier answer, resulting in Mr Sibanda asking the Deputy Speaker Cde Mabel Chinomona to ask him to prepare a detailed statement on the issue.

Cde Chinomona directed Dr Undenge to prepare a ministerial statement to answer the legislators’ questions.

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