Minister of Energy and Power Development Joram Gumbo has said that the government will not be banning the use of jerry cans and fuel containers at service stations. The Minister seems to have reversed his previous position after his initial announcement attracted outrage and ridicule from critics who argued that the decision was ill thought and not addressing the actual issue. Gumbo previously said,
Those using tanks, drums and jerry cans all, those forms of containers should stop and we are sending out inspectors and the Zimbabwe Republic Police and if anybody is going to be found maybe overcharging or using drums might have their licences withdrawn. We are not going to allow that…
The Minister held a press conference today at which he said that the government was not banning any containers. We went on to say that jerry cans and other fuel containers should only be used when necessary. Gumbo also discouraged people from hoarding fueling saying that it was a hazardous substance which could lead to accidents. We publish the Minister’s full statement below,
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE HON. MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT – DR J GUMBO ON THE USE OF CONTAINERS IN BUYING FUEL
The fuel supply in the country is improving but remains constrained. However, in discussions with the oil industry, it has been noted that despite the improvements, there has been a marked increase in the number of people who are putting fuel in containers crowding out motorists.
The nation is assured that Government is doing its best to ensure continued supply of fuel throughout the country and therefore there is no need for hoarding and panic buying.
My Ministry notes that there are genuine cases of legitimate customers that include command agriculture and other farmers, owners of grinding mills, schools and hospitals that require fuel for their generators and many other users, who of necessity have to uplift fuel in containers.
My Ministry is acutely aware that there are several users who of necessity have to transport fuel to various places of economic activity. While these are all genuine cases requiring picking of fuel in containers, there are those who have resorted to hoarding fuel, either for resale or for future personal use.
It is this latter class of our citizenry who should desist from so doing, as this contributes towards causing artificial shortages of fuel on the market. We are also aware from the public reports that drums and other containers are fueling the black market.
In terms of Statutory instrument 12 of 2007, fuel is classified under the “Hazardous Substances, Pesticides and Toxic Substances Regulations”, requiring specialized containers for carrying and storing. It is in this spirit that my Ministry is calling on all fuel trading companies to follow the law and educate members of the public. We are also duty bound as a Ministry to protect consumers from unscrupulous black market fuel dealers.
My Ministry is, therefore, advising all parties charged with distribution and use of fuel, to observe the law in supporting all economic and social activities requiring the use of fuel.
Let me end by emphasising that it is illegal to hoard fuel as fuel is a hazardous substance that poses great danger to life and property and that every citizen must desist from such acts.