Panashe Chikonyora and Chipo Chaumba
Fintech company Toda Zimbabwe, on Friday, launched a new fuel finder application to help motorists in accessing fuel easily.
The new application is in line with global trends aimed at improving the situation of motorists in the country who now spend more productive hours in long fuel queues.
It comes at a time when the scarcity and erratic supply of fuel have affected the country’s economic productivity as most people now abscond from work or look for fuel during working hours.
Speaking at the launch of the application, Toda Zimbabwe general manager, Mr Nyasha Shereni, said the idea of the application was inspired by Toda’s concern over the time motorists spend in search of the commodity (fuel).
“In most cases, motorists rely on information sent on WhatsApp and other social media platforms by colleagues on fuel whereabouts, which may not be entirely correct, current or credible as it stems from third party sources.
“ This has resulted in some people using up the last of their fuel, in endless searches where the availability of the product may not be guaranteed,” he said.
“Such instances have left several motorists stranded and desperate — a situation which makes them vulnerable to illegal fuel traders, who not only charge exorbitant prices, but may sell contaminated fuel that results in vehicle damage and unexpected repair costs,” added Mr Shereni
The application provides users with credible information around fuel availability, indicative guidelines on estimated waiting time, number of vehicles in the queue, how long the fuel is likely to be available for and the name of the fuel station where the fuel will be, allowing users to make informed decisions based on accessibility and availability of fuel.
The fuel finder application is now available on Google Playstore and Apple Appstore.
The challenges motorists face do not end with them getting in a queue where there is fuel at a service station.
Some unscrupulous fuel attendance quickly announces that fuel is finished and divert the reset to the black market without the consent of the business owner.
This also calls for applications that enable service station owners to read the quantity of fuel in their underground tanks in the comfort of their homes or cars.
Recently a fuel solutions technology company, Garage and Forecourt (Pvt) Ltd, rolled out an ITC based fuel management system that it argues might be panacea to manual and less accurate fuel gauging and management currently dogging service stations.
According to managing director Omalli Jani, the new system replaces convectional dipsticks used to measure product levels at service stations and indications are fuel attendants will be unable to falsify fuel levels in tanks or divert it to the black market if business owners adopt it.
The system, Mr Jani said, has fuel attendant tagging that monitors sales done regardless of the pump used and has automatic tank gauging that monitors product level in the tank in the same fashion a fuel tank gauge works.
It also gives alarm signal if the product is contaminated with water to prevent customers from using it.
Local fuel stations are still relying on outdated manual systems to gauge and manage their stock and in many occasions they stop operations to manually check on stock levels.
It is against this background that the new system by Garage and Forecourt, comes in handy at a time when the world is embracing new information communication technologies.
The facility has a head office reporting provision that enables it to send sales information and can also be used by commercial clients who have their own fueling points such as trucking companies and corporates.