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Minister slams 'USD Service Stations'

ENERGY and Power Development Minister, Joram Gumbo, said service stations cannot demand customers to pay exclusively in US dollars.

He said this amid reports that some service stations, especially Zuva Pomona and Zuva Marimba, were demanding payment in US dollars.

"Since our country is a multicurrency economy, we do not have a rule which forbids retailers from requesting payment in US dollars but we are saying for those who do not have access to the US dollar they can pay in bond notes and RTGS.

"Fuel stations must accept all forms of payment. People must report all fuel stations which are demanding payment in US dollars to ZERA and the police," Minister Gumbo said.

He said the issue of foreign currency should be directed to the Reserve Bank Governor and the Ministry of Finance.

"People should direct such concerns to the RBZ governor and Minister of Finance because they are the ones who deal with finances, my main duty is to source for fuel and distribute it," said Minister Gumbo.

Minister Gumbo said Government was working tirelessly to ensure that the country gets adequate fuel.

"We are working tirelessly to ensure that we provide fuel to the public, but people are still hoarding and there is still panic-buying which is leading to the fuel crisis," he said.

Meanwhile, many motorists are sleeping in fuel queues at various pump stations due to the shortage of the precious liquid.

A survey conducted by H-Metro yesterday, showed that hundreds of people are queuing for fuel for days, especially public transport operators.

"I'm in transport business, there is nothing we can do because we want our families to eat and the only option we have is to sleep here in queues so that during the day we will be able to conduct our businesses," said one driver who refused to be named.

There was a fuel queue which was stretching for kilometres – from Zuva Service Station in Belvedere along Samora Machel into Blakeway Avenue.

Motorists at that service station said the fuel crisis situation is getting worse.

"I have been here since yesterday at 9am, we don't have much of a choice if we do not do that we will fail to report for duty at our respective workplaces.

"They are selling their fuel in US dollars, where do they think we will get the foreign currency from, we are being paid in bond notes and RTGS and so don't have access to foreign currency," said one Tichaona Tiripo.

Of the big four local fuel companies Puma, Engen, Total and Zuva, only Total and Zuva appeared to have fuel supplies.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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