Govt buckles under pressure, deregulates fuel imports
HARARE – Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, Sifelani Jabangwe, says government should consider lowering taxation on fuel to ensure that the landing price remains low.
He said this as government liberalized the importation of fuel for big companies with the ability to bring in the scarce resource, whose shortage has spilled to long queues at service stations.
“Right now, the taxes for fuel are significantly higher compared to our regional counterparts, meaning when private players import, they bear the extra cost and the landing price will be high,” Jabangwe said Tuesday.
Under pressure, the Zimbabwean government announced Tuesday it was giving mining firms, transport operators and large corporates the green light to buy on their own from outside suppliers.
“Furthermore, cabinet has given a green light to large companies such as those in the mining sector to use their funds to import fuel for their use,” said Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa during a media briefing Tuesday.
Zimbabwe has been expressing a fuel crisis since last year due to foreign currency shortages, resulting in long queues across the country. Diesel has recently been in short supply, with some service stations going for days without supply.
Energy and Power Development Minister Jorum Gumbo however, said the new development did not apply to individuals, but corporates.
In 2015, Statutory Instrument (SI) 171 made if permissible for individuals to import up to 2,000 litres of fuel per month for personal use, but that law was repealed in 2017. It was then stipulated that only companies licensed in terms of Section 29 of the Petroleum Act were allowed to import fuel.
The market is currently plagued by intermittent stock-outs, which are negatively affecting individual consumers and businesses.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) provides private companies with foreign currency to import fuel, but due to forex shortages spinning off from a comatose industrial sector, the commodity has been rendered a rare resource.