The legal think-tank, Veritas said that the fuel prices announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa were illegal as the prices were not fixed by the fuel regulator, ZERA as required by the law.
Statutory Instrument 10 of 2019 which supposedly put the new prices into effect was in contravention of the Petroleum Act according to Veritas. In a statement, Veritas said:
The SI may be ultra vires the Petroleum Act under which it was made because it was purportedly made by the minister after consultation with Zera, but section 54 of the Act states that Zera, after consultation with the minister, must prescribe the prices for petroleum products.
The SI does not mention the new fuel prices announced by the President on January 12 of $3,31 per litre for petrol and $3,11 per litre for diesel, and the President did not mention Zera when announcing them.
When Mnangagwa announced the new prices, he said that foreign missions and tourists would be able to buy fuel at designated garages for special prices at US$1,32 per litre for petrol and US$1,24 per litre for diesel fuel, but neither the SI nor Zera’s website mentions these special prices.
The confusion is made worse by the President reportedly having said these prices are predicated on the ruling official exchange rate of 1:1 between the bond note and the United States dollar. This statement and the two-tier pricing announced are contradictory.