Government has moved in to contain a potentially volatile fuel crisis amid reports that oil firms were failing to access adequate export earnings to pay for fuel imports, a senior official has said.
Secretary for Energy and Power Development Mr Partson Mbiriri said Government has intensified the mobilisation of resources to enable the central bank to pay for imports to avert fuel shortages.
Reports showed that while people were using plastic money to buy fuel, there were no corresponding export earnings to import fuel, hence emerging erratic supplies at some filling stations in recent weeks.
Mr Mbiriri has, however, said there was no need to panic since Government was on top of the situation“What has been happening is that when oil companies approach their banks requesting them to make payments for the importation of fuel, there have been some financial bottlenecks in seeking clearance from the central bank.
“They have been told that there is no foreign currency. There have been challenges related to foreign currency, making it difficult to make payments of fuel imports through their nostro accounts,” said Mr Mbiriri. “Oil companies would approach their banks and request that payment of so much be made to company A, on the basis of their nostro accounts.
“The bank would approve, but when it seeks approval from the RBZ, the challenge has been that they would be told that there is no foreign currency. “It has been the tradition that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe prioritises energy and fuel in allocation of hard currency. Of late, oil companies have been failing to access their money for fuel importation, owing to foreign currency shortages, which we are experiencing as a country.”
Nostro account refers to an account that a bank holds in foreign currency in another bank. The term is derived from the Latin word for “ours,” and is frequently used to facilitate foreign exchange and international trade transactions. Mr Mbiriri said there was no need to panic since the Government through the central bank had moved in to mobilise foreign currency.
“I was coming from Rusape this weekend and I have actually seen several trucks of fuel tankers carrying the fuel. So, we are on top of the situation There is no need to panic or to be alarmist because the situation is under control,” said Mr Mbiriri.
He said there was no need for people to hoarde fuel because adequate mechanisms for uninterrupted supply had been put in place.There have been reports of pending fuel shortages as some service stations were turning away motorists after running out of fuel.
“I have moved from one service station to another in Glen View in Harare after being told that there was no fuel. I wondered what was happening because rarely have I experienced that,” said Mr Tawanda Mandeya of Glen View.Another motorist echoed similar sentiments.“I was surprised to be told by some reputable service stations that they did not have fuel,” said Ms Plaxedes Muchirahondo.