Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has warned fuel operators getting foreign currency through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) auction system that they risk losing their licenses if they continue rejecting payments in the Zimbabwean Dollar.
Ncube was responding to a question from MDC-T senator Morgen Komichi who had expressed concern that petrol and diesel are not available in RTGS and in local currency. Komichi asked on Thursday:
We have expressed our concern but we are not getting any feedback. Does it mean that the country is going to full dollarisation whilst workers are not getting salaries in USD? This has put a lot of pressure on our people, so what is the government doing to better the people’s livelihoods.
In response, Ncube blamed unprincipled operators for profiteering at the expense of the public. He said:
It is certainly true that if you go to most of the service stations, there are more of them that are selling fuel in US dollar and not in the Zimdollar as they would have promised us. Some of these fuel operators would come to the auction to source foreign currency to purchase fuel. They are successful in doing so but the condition is that they should sell in the local currency. They do not comply. They proceed to sell in US dollars.
They are committing two offences; depriving the public of Zimdollar fuel and then depriving the fiscus and the public of rightfully earning taxes. That is an issue we are dealing with and we have decided to really narrow the space and put it in a facility through NOIC so that it is part of the architecture of accessing the fuel in the first place, making sure that it is available in the local currency.
Fuel consumers have been buying foreign currency from the parallel market where the rate bounces around US$1: ZWL$200.