The government said that it released $20 million to buy 44 million litres of fuel more than a week ago to replenish depleted stocks.
This was revealed by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube on Friday last week. Ncube said this while addressing a town hall meeting organised by Global Shapers Community Harare in the capital. Said Ncube:
Basically, on Friday last week, we authorised the drawdown of $20 million to deal with the crisis and those funds were made available yesterday (Thursday) because it takes a few days (to reflect) . . . so that should enable us to receive about 44 million litres on the back of that release. That is only a blood transfusion to deal with the fuel crisis.
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But a lot is going on in the fuel sector. We are also quite aware of the arbitrage opportunities that have been created by the price of fuel relative to its price outside Zimbabwe and also relative to the parallel market.
We are quite aware that there is round-tripping either across borders or between parallel market and the fuel market. And there is a whole parallel market for fuel in the first place, where fuel is being sold, is it for $4 or $5 per litre? Those are the figures that I keep hearing. So you have got these distortions in the market that are making the situation worse. . .
Of course, we have a forex shortage – that is a fact – but perhaps just through currency reforms and getting the right pricing for fuel, that will deal a blow to pricing distortions and arbitrage opportunity.
“Getting the right pricing for fuel” referred to by Ncube came in the form of the shock announcement made by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday night that the prices of fuel had been reviewed upwardly.