Fuel queues reappeared in Harare this week, with several service stations having run out of petrol, evoking memories of the fuel crisis of late 2018 and 2019 when motorists spent days in queues.
This comes as the festive season draws close when thousands of Zimbabweans traverse the country to their holiday destinations.
Speaking in an interview with NewsDay Weekender on Friday, National Oil Company Infrastructure of Zimbabwe board chairperson Daniel Mackenzie Ncube said the fuel challenges emanated from Mozambique.
He said that an unscheduled maintenance exercise at pumping stations in Mozambique had resulted in fuel shortages in Zimbabwe but the situation should normalise in “a day or two”. Said Mackenzie Ncube:
We had a problem in Mozambique where they were maintaining the port so they were not pumping.
… We have started pumping now. The problem should normalise in a day or two.
The scheduling in Mozambique caught us offside when they closed the port for maintenance.
Mackenzie Ncube added that there was very little petrol in stock before Mozambique closed the port and this explains the petrol shortages. He said:
What we were holding was a bit low because of the pricing of petrol, so the dealers tend to sell each time they get fuel. They put it to the market instead of holding some of it.
I can’t tell you in terms of numbers, but for a few days we were not pumping but we normally pump around four million a day, but for diesel, we were holding stocks, but for petrol, our stocks were a bit on the low side and that is why they depleted very quickly.
We have been massaging the problem since last week hoping that it won’t get this far, but fortunately, we are now pumping.