December 12, 2019

Zera declares war on fuel dealers trading in forex

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Takudzwa Chihambakwe

The Zimbabwe energy regulatory authority (Zera) has said it will punish errant fuel dealers selling the commodity in foreign currency.

Zera acting chief executive, Eddington Mazambani said it is illegal for service stations to sell in foreign currency.

Only people with free funds are allowed to import fuel for personal consumption.

“It is for those with foreign currency for their own consumption. They can approach a licensed importer of fuel and pay for it in forex. But, this is only for those doing it for their own consumption and not for retailing,” explained Mazambani.

A survey carried out by ZTN in Harare showed that there are some fuel stations that are selling both petrol and diesel in foreign currency. This has been happening for months despite Zera earlier on in the year, announcing in Parliament that this was illegal.

The survey also showed that motorists with foreign currency get preferential treatment at the fuel pump compared to those buying the product using local currency.

The question then is why is the law is not taking its course if the regulator has declared this practice illegal?

“Unfortunately in terms of fines it ranges from about between ZWL$100 – ZWL$600 so it is up to the courts. We have realized that the fines are very lenient and hence the reason we are now revising them,” the Zera boss added.

Mr Mazambani who is on record as saying that Zera inspectors are too few to be able to effectively monitor service stations throughout the country, said the fuel regulator will be collaborating with the police to address the matter.

“At the moment there is a blitz we are doing with the police and the Office of the President and Cabinet to flash out the (delinquent) dealers,” he said.

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