Govt under fire over fuel shortages

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GOVERNMENT came under fire on Thursday from senators who demanded an end to fuel shortages saying their work is being affected by the sad development.

The matter was first raised by senator Ranganai Bwawanda, who questioned Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi why most of the fuel stations were selling fuel in foreign currency.

“There are some things we are failing to understand — goods being sold in foreign currency are always available, for example fuel. We have a lot of fuel which is being sold in forex. We do not understand where it is coming from. I want the minister to have a re-look into the policy so that he helps us. We are pained because forex is still being used in this country,” Bwawanda said.

In his response, Ziyambi said the responsible authorities must take action against the issue.

“When we craft laws in this country, what will be left is for people to comply and those who break the law are arrested or are made to comply. If the law has been put and there is something happening against the law, it means those responsible for maintaining the law take action that people follow that law,” Ziyambi said.

The response did not go down well with other senators who believed that Ziyambi was not taking the matter seriously.

“Sometimes your responses do not show commitment. Everyone knows that fuel is being sold in foreign currency. This country is ours and one day you said Zimbabwe is ours and we are supposed to love it.
“We love this country that is why we were chosen to lead. (Home Affairs deputy minister Mike) Madiro is here and he is seeing all these things happening. People are feeling the pinch,” MDC Manicaland senator Keresencia Chabuka said.

Senator Fortune Charumbira weighed in saying the minister must give a good answer because the issue has nothing to do with politics.

“There are some issues which are bi-partisan, these issues are affecting everyone and there is no politics, especially on this one.

“As I am standing here, I sent someone to fill the car and he said he needed forex for him to buy fuel. He showed me service stations which are selling fuel in forex. Even tomorrow we can give you a list of people who are selling fuel in forex.

“Zuva, some few days ago published and we read a list that if you want fuel in forex, you can go to various service stations to get it. All along, the forex fuel was sold in private and now people are selling it openly. No one is being arrested.

“No one is earning US dollars but you are allowing people to sell US dollars on the streets. What are we supposed to do because this is a very serious issue? You need to come back here and we will give you a list so that you arrest all those people.

“As ministers, it is very bad for you to say that you do not know that there are service stations which are selling fuel in foreign currency. If you know, why are you not arresting them?”

Ziyambi said mines and big companies that are generating foreign currency came to government and said that their operations were being affected and that’s why some service stations are selling fuel in foreign currency.

“They wanted to be allowed to bring fuel on their own and give it to service stations selling in foreign currency.

“That was allowed by the government that those companies could go ahead so that we do not destroy our industry.

“If these companies pay their fuel in foreign currency, they can get that fuel from Zuva because they generate foreign currency.

“If there are people who are not in that arrangement, those people are supposed to comply with the law and people breaking the law must be arrested.”

This comes as fuel shortages persist in the country with most service stations running dry.

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