By James Muonwa
THE Russian offensive on Ukraine has caused uncertainty in global fuel supplies, a development that has jerked the government to increase strategic fuel reserves in the country.
As a measure to curtail sharp price increase of petrol in the wake of looming shortages, cabinet Tuesday resolved to increase mandatory fuel and ethanol blending from E10 to E20 by end of this month.
Addressing journalists during a post Cabinet media briefing in Harare, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the measures were adopted following a report on strategies to standardise fuel procurement presented by energy minister, Zhemu Soda.
Mutsvangwa said: “Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that the instability in Eastern Europe has increased the uncertainty in fuel supply. Government has, therefore, increased efforts to improve the strategic fuel reserve, with US$40 million worth of fuel having been procured in the last six months.
“The intention is to maintain at least a 30-day stock cover, which, at the current consumption levels, translates to 150 million litres. This fuel would be released onto the market to plug supply gaps or to stabilise prices.”
She added: “The nation is informed that in the immediate term, Cabinet has adopted the resumption of petrol blending at E10 from 25 April 2022, which has reduced the pump price of petrol by US$0.04 per litre. The blending will go up to E20 by end of May 2022, which will lead to a higher reduction in the price of petrol by US$0.07 per litre.”
Government intends to set up a fuel price stabilisation fund, to cushion consumers from sharp increases in fuel prices.