Govt fuel coupons abuse exposed

(Last Updated On: November 17, 2022)

LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

 

Corruption has hit the fuel sector as unscrupulous dealers are reportedly getting locally charged fuel coupons from government officials and reselling them in US$.

The fuel dealers sell these fuel coupons at US$20 per 20 litres of diesel against US$34 in US$ charged service stations and US$18 per 20 litres of petrol against US$30 in other US$ indexed service stations.

Mainly sold coupons are those belonging to the Central Mechanical and Engineering Department (CMED) and Petrotrade that  are given to many government officials and Members of Parliament.

Some dealers are selling the fuel at US$2 per litre in areas where there are no service stations.

It emerged also that many forex dealers have diverted their money to this new opportunity in town.

“Now that the government has tightened its procurement system to contain the exchange rate, high-ranking government officials are giving us loads and loads of ZWL$ indexed coupons to sell and collect their US$ at the end of each day,” a dealer who operates at the Puma Service Station in the city told Business Times.

“There are some incentives of two coupons for those who push huge volumes,” the dealer said.

“Some are hoarding that fuel for reselling in areas where there are no service stations at a huge mark-up. We see some buyers transporting between 5000 litres and 10 000 litres every day.”

Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority CEO Eddington Mazambani said they will investigate the issue.

No comment could be obtained from Energy and Power Development minister Zhemu Soda as his number went unanswered. Efforts to contact the Ministry’s permanent secretary drew blanks as her number went unanswered.

Business Times tracked down a dealer who bought 5000 litres of petrol from another dealer at Redan Service station along Second Street and observed that the buyer has more than five employees who sell the fuel at 45km peg along Harare-Shamva Road.

In the area, one could see a brisk business where movable storage tanks are stationed in woods with runners using 20-litre plastic containers to sell the fuel at US$2 per litre.

Many young people have left their jobs to sell fuel and it’s a well-paying hustle where they could earn US$20 per day.

If one is working every day, the individual earns an average of US$600 per month which is an envy of many white-collar jobs getting 30% of that money.

It was also observed those who push small volumes sell at US$1.20 per litre of petrol and diesel.

The arbitrage opportunities were magnified by the fact that the government had left PUMA and Redan as their main fuel suppliers.

The government now uses Petrotrade and CMED which sell ZWL$ and its workers now abuse them by supplying the fuel dealers with coupons.

The development comes at a time when some fuel dealers import directly from South Africa at a cheaper rate of R6 per litre but resell the same fuel on the South African market at about R14 per litre before it reaches the Zimbabwean market.

It is understood that fuel trucks come to Zimbabwe with water after selling the precious liquid in South Africa.

 

 

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