Former Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Tendai Biti, said that the current fuel crisis could get worse unless the government liberalised the industry to allow more players to be involved.
Speaking during a radio interview last week, Biti also called for the re-dollarisation of the economy. He said:
The energy situation is dire; the fuel situation is particularly dire as evidenced by the long queues.
I want to underline US$ part; the government doesn’t have that money. My advice to the new (Energy minister Fortune Chasi) is that government should not try what it can’t do, it can’t buy fuel, it can’t give fuel companies money to buy because it doesn’t have the money.
We need to liberalise fuel procurement. Anyone who has foreign currency, who can bring fuel should be able to bring it, but here is a catch; you can’t bring into Zimbabwe fuel in US$ and sell it in bond notes because soon you will run out of the foreign currency. So, the minute you liberalise fuel you must essentially redollarise the economy.
Biti called for the newly-appointed Minister of Energy, Fortune Chasi, to break fuel cartels and monopolies that control the fuel industry.
He identified two cartels that are stifling the fuel industry, namely, Trafigura of Singapore and Glencore.
Chasi bemoaned the shortage of foreign currency, at the same time revealing that the country owes South Africa and Mozambique close to US$70 million in arrears for unpaid electricity imports.