Posted by Evans Jona
Motorists in Bulawayo have expressed concerns over the new fuel price increment following the announcement made by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) last Friday.
The announcement circulating on social media and also posted on ZERA’s Twitter and Facebook handles, highlights that a litre of diesel now costs $19.55 while a litre of petrol is now fetching for $18.28, from previous prices of $17.90 and $17.44 per litre respectively.
A snap survey conducted by this reporter in the CBD on Saturday revealed that most fuel service stations were not selling, with one service station along Matopos Road, selling petrol for $19.05 per litre and diesel for $20.04.
By Sunday afternoon, most service stations had started selling fuel but at different prices slightly above the gazetted prices announced by ZERA.
Most motorists denied commenting on record but two who openly spoke to this reporter expressed that the recent price hike was unjustified.
The first motorist, Fortune Ncube, argued that the price increment was not justified since increasing the fuel price would not guarantee availability of the resource even if sold at a high price.
The second motorist, Robson Makombe, highlighted how unjustified the price increase was, saying it came at a moment when civil servants had just received their cushioning allowances.
A constant plight that kept being raised by the motorists was the issue of petrol blending, where they alluded that the petrol price should have been receding than increasing because the petrol being sold was not 100 percent unleaded petrol.
Makombe, however, said government must allow service stations to provide consumers an option to choose whether they want to purchase unleaded or blended petrol saying compulsory blending was initiated to increase profits for Zimbabwe’s sole ethanol producing company.
Makombe further noted that blended petrol doesn’t last long since it is diluted with ethanol and motorists have to constantly purchase the liquid which becomes a strain on their pockets considering how expensive fuel has become while salaries are stagnant.
Ncube bemoaned service stations’ lack of methods for consumers to verify blending percentages before they purchase petrol, saying percentage verification will curb corruption on the bases that petrol sold to consumers might be over blended and yet sold at the recently increased high price.
Fortune Ncube and Robson Makombe noted with concern how blended petrol affected vehicle performance in the long run.
Meanwhile, Ncube and Makombe were both in agreement that the fuel price increase would possibly see an increase in prices of basic commodities in retail shops and an increase in public transport fares.