By Anna Chibamu
ZIMBABWE is trudging towards a major fuel crisis after Energy Minister Jorum Gumbo, Wednesday revealed the country has less than a month’s supply of the precious liquid.
Responding to a question from Mbizo MP, Settlement Chikwinya on Wednesday, during the Question and Answer session, Gumbo however claimed there are ships docked at the Mozambican Port of Beira, from which fuel is being pumped into the country adding the situation will improve.
“Our consumption is 2 million litres of petrol per day and we have a month’s supply at the bonded warehouse in Msasa.
“As for diesel, we have stocks that can last the next 23 days. But pumping is going on at Beira there are ships there now,” said Gumbo.
The Energy Minister however appealed for more foreign currency from treasury.
“Letters of credit have matured and soon the largest fuel companies will be bringing in fuel into the country.
“But we need to have more foreign currency available to allow them to import fuel,” said Gumbo.
Reserve Bank Governor (RBZ), John Mangudya early this year said most of the fuel being imported into Zimbabwe is imported using financial instruments created specifically for bulk imports known as letters of credit (LCs).
According to Mangudya, the LCs are being been guaranteed by the African Export and Import Bank but the country continues to struggle with fuel supplies with queues almost everywhere.
“The challenge has been that some of the fuel dealers in most cases have no sufficient RTGS dollars to monetise their letters of credit used to finance fuel imports,” said Mangudya then.
The Central Bank chief said the fuel queues being experienced were due to the time lag between establishing an LC, having the LC confirmed by an international bank, evaluated and confirmed by bank advisor of the foreign oil supplier and the time until confirmation by the supplier for release of fuel is received.