By Leopold Munhende
GOVERNMENT claims it has secured 100 million litres of petrol, enough to last the entire festive season.
This was revealed in a confidential update circulated among cabinet ministers Sunday, as fuel queues, mainly in Harare, lengthened while most service stations ran dry.
The update was issued by Energy and Power Development minister Zhemu Soda.
The weekend and Monday were characterised by acute shortages, with a number of stations indicating they did not have any fuel at all.
The update an 11-day shutdown of the Beira Port in Mozambique was the main cause of the petrol.
The Muzarabani North legislator also blamed private companies, some of which he said ignored calls for them to collect their product at Feruka in Manicaland instead of waiting for it to reach Msasa, Harare.
“We have plenty of petrol and the public should not panic,” Soda said.
“However after the shutdown of Beira Port from 21 November until 2 December, a vessel which was carrying fuel for Zimbabwe was prioritised and pumping commenced on the 4th (of December) and the product was expected to be at Msasa by the 8th (of December),” said Soda.
“Oil companies were advised to pick their product at Feruka since the pipeline between Feruka and Msasa had diesel which needed to be pushed first, however some responded whilst some decided to wait. As we speak petrol is being pumped and oil companies have started getting fuel at Msasa.”
Msasa is the country’s main fuel depot.
“About 28 million litres is being pumped. We will have 37 million litres of petrol on the 16th and another 35 million on the 25th of December. We expect the situation to normalise latest tomorrow.”
Fuel queues became synonymous in Zimbabwe at the height of the economic crisis under the then under the late former president Robert Mugabe.