ENERGY and Power Development deputy minister Magna Mudyiwa yesterday told Parliament that motorists have no choice, but to use blended fuel in the face of serious petroleum shortages that the country is grappling with.
The government introduced mandatory blending of petroleum products in response to fuel shortages in August 2013 to the chagrin of some motorists who say the blended fuel damages their vehicles and lessens mileage per litre.
Yesterday in Parliament, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya revived the debate once again after he argued that the mandatory blending policy deprives motorists of choice.
In response, Mudyiwa said the decision to blend was meant to increase volumes considering the current situation where the country is struggling to import fuel due to foreign currency shortages.
“The reason behind blending fuel was to increase fuel volumes so as to cater for many motorists and save foreign currency through reducing unleaded petrol imports. Motorists do not have any choice because we do not have enough fuel to meet demand,” Mudyiwa said.
The deputy minister’s remarks came as the country is facing a serious energy crisis with shortages of both electricity and fuel causing headaches to industry and the general public.
Motorists are complaining that the blended petrol from some service stations is giving them far less mileage than before, and dangerous for their vehicles’ lifespan.
Despite the fuel blending programme, which was presumably introduced to alleviate the country’s fuel crisis, motorists still spend several hours daily in fuel queues as the country does not have enough foreign currency reserves to import fuel in sufficient quantities.
The government recently introduced regulations licensing some petroleum companies which import fuel without recourse to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to sell in foreign currency to ease inconveniences for motorists.
The government recently put in place regulations facilitating petroleum companies to sell in foreign currency procured through free funds.An illegal foreign currency trader tries in vain to resist arrest in central Harare yesterday.