Zimbabwe’s Energy Minister Fortune Chasi, who has battled with crippling fuel and power shortages for the past two months without success, has warned service stations that are rejecting electronic payments or diverting fuel to the black-market that their licences will be revoked.
He said that the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority will soon dispatch inspectors to monitor the service stations some of which were serving preferred customers and engaging in arbitrage activities that their days are numbered.
He said some service stations, especially in Bulawayo were demanding cash which they then used to buy foreign currency on the black market.
Chasi said no one will be spared this time and “connections” are not going to help.
“We have sent teams across, some of them are disguised, some of them we have given hidden cameras. They will get whatever evidence and anybody that is brought to ZERA, and I have made this very clear to ZERA, it’s time now that we set very serious examples. Connections are not going to help in this instance. Once we catch you the licence is gone, you will have to go and start another business elsewhere,” the minister said.
Chasi was appointed Energy Minister in May replacing Joram Gumbo but he has failed to address the fuel and power shortages, though the price of fuel has been raised twice so far.
The shortage seems to have gotten worse after the government reintroduced the Zimbabwe dollar and said it should be the sole legal tender for local transactions.
It also put a clamp on service stations that were selling fuel in foreign currency.
Some observers say the government is failing to address the fuel problem because senior government officials are in the business and are the ones benefitting from the arbitrage activities in the sector.