By Anna Chibamu
PLAYERS in the country’s fuel supply sector must behave or risk having their licences revoked, Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi has said.
Chasi said this after meeting industry players for the second time inside a week as the country’s fuel supply situation remained precariously low.
“I have met with fuel industry players today (Thursday), for the second time since I was appointed as Minister. What I am hearing is disturbing because some of these players, I hear have started to misbehave.
“Some service stations are not serving the commodity to consumers as they demand foreign currency. This is unacceptable because it has caused untold suffering to the public,” Chasi told journalists.
“Fuel should be rationally distributed to everyone and there should be no one who should be left out. Some are taking our foreign currency outside the country and not delivering the fuel that they received the money for. This externalisation should stop immediately.”
Then came the stark warning, “Let me warn you, we will not tolerate that. Service stations should be wet today (Thursday). There will be penalties for misbehaviour pretty soon because we need order in the sector.”
The Energy Minister threatened to publish names of fuel suppliers and the amounts of the precious liquid they would have received “for transparency” arguing some are diverting the commodity onto the parallel market.
“We expect some significant movement today. I have just completed some regulations for the sector.
“These will be sent to the Attorney General for approval. We need order. We also reminded players that their licences will be due for renewal in six months and we will be looking at the behaviour of players. We have a right as a government to do that,” the Minister said.
Chasi said he will be meeting industry players in two weeks to deal with the issue of prices.
Government this week reacted swiftly to block a price increase a week after another one as the exchange rate especially on the parallel market spiralled out of control.
Some fuel retailers had already increased the price of petrol to RTGS$7.98 from $4.97 and diesel from $4.87 to just over $7.