Fuel prices up again

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) Monday announced new prices of fuel, a move that suggests government is moving towards Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s wish to have it in line with the interbank value of US$1.

According to a Zera announcement early Monday, the new price of petrol is now $7.47 from $6.10 and diesel now $7.19 up from $5.84.

It is the second increase inside two weeks.

Most service stations immediately adjusted their prices upwards in line with the announcement.

The new price increase comes just a week after Zera announced a $0.85 cents increase.

In the aftermath of the abandonment of the multi-currency regime last month, prices of basic commodities somewhat stabilised by the consistent increases in fuel prices have had the opposite effect with inflation on the run again.

Ncube is on record as saying that the ideal price of fuel should be closer or equivalent to US$1.

Currently, the interbank rate is around $8.50 to the US$ while the parallel market rate is hovering around $9.50 to the Greenback.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also argued Zimbabwe has the cheapest fuel in the region a situation that authorities argue has resulted in the smuggling of the commodity into neighbouring countries.

However, shortages of fuel remain and queues have remained a key feature despite the increases in prices, the latest being the fifth since the January hike that triggered violent demonstrations.