A Ray Of Sunshine For Zimbabwe As Fuel Prices Go Down
It has been reported that an analysis around Harare has shown that most service stations have reduced the prices of petrol from $1,43 to $1,39 per litre, while availability has remarkably stabilised and ridiculously long queues that had become an eyesore seem to be fast dwindling.
Following the announcement of a new monetary regime that included a 2% transactional tax on the first of October, Zimbabwe sunk into an untold economic turmoil with basic goods disappearing from supermarket shelves. Where they were found, the prices would be two or even three times more.
Fuel was no exception, as it also became scarce countrywide. Motorists were forced to queue for the commodity for long hours on end as the government scrambled to deal with the desperate situation.
“We only have a problem with diesel. Petrol supplies have stabilised. We have enough stocks and that is why maybe the price has fallen. No retailer wants to hold it for long. The more we sell, the better the margins. We have been asked to push volumes,” one fuel attendant in Harare said.
Newsday reported that yesterday, Minister of Energy and Power Development, Joram Gumbo said prices would continue to fluctuate in the coming days and weeks.
“We are monitoring international oil prices and when they fall, our retail prices will follow suit. We will also allow the local market to determine the prices but under strict monitoring. If international oil prices rise, you will see a similar movement here,” he said.
The shortages, which Gumbo last month attributed to ‘panic-buying’, caused the flourishing of the illegal black market trade in the commodity in Harare and other cities, with illegal fuel dealers cashing in on the crisis, charging as high as $2 per litre against a pump price of $1,40.
The spiralling United States dollar parallel market went into meltdown after Finance minister Mthuli Ncube announced a 2% tax on all electronic transactions, triggering a fresh wave of price increases and inevitably, basic commodities shortages.
In a bid to stabilise the mayhem which was fast causing tension in the country, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government gave in to the public demands and allowed imports of goods into the country by suspending sections of Statutory Instrument 122 of 2017 to increase the flow of basic goods into the market ahead of the festive season and also ease pressure on foreign currency demand on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.