Nqobile Tshili /Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporters
SOME Bulawayo service stations selling fuel in foreign currency have hiked prices, reportedly in response to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s (Zimra) foreign currency duty demand for petrol and diesel sold in hard currency.
Zimra said in line with Statutory Instrument 161 of 2019, companies that imported fuel in forex since August 2019 should pay taxes in hard currency in retrospect.
Zimra said duty imports for petrol will charged at US$0,45 cents per litre for unleaded petrol and US$0,40 cents per litre for diesel.
Chronicle on Wednesday could not independently confirm that the Statutory Instrument contributed to fuel price hikes. A survey revealed that fuel prices have gone up for most stations selling fuel in foreign currency.
Previously, diesel and petrol were being sold for between US$1,18 and US$1,36 per litre but the pump price jumped up to US$1,51 for petrol and $1,43 for diesel.
Flo service stations that were selling both diesel and petrol at between US$1,18 and US$1,25 per litre last week have increased their pump price with petrol being sold at US$1,43 and diesel at US$1,29 per litre.
At Zuva Service Station along Leopold Takawira Avenue petrol was being sold at US$1,51 per litre and US$1,36 for diesel.
A fuel attendant who requested anonymity said the price increase was due to the introduction of duty payments in foreign currency.
“This forex duty is now dipping into the pocket of profits so the price has to go up to avoid operating at a loss. The only problem is that we are paid in local currency yet we serve people in forex all day,” said the fuel attendant.
At Busuman Service Station along Fife Street between 14th and 15th Avenues, the pump price for both diesel and petrol had not changed at US$1,25 per litre.
It was the same situation at Classic Cars Station in Belmont, as it sold both petrol and diesel for US$1,25
The discrepancies in forex fuel prices had seen motorists demanding to know why it seems Government was not regulating the commodity sold in foreign currency as it does with fuel sold in local currency.
Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi last week revealed that the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) would be announcing new fuel prices on or before the 5th of every month.
Minister Chasi said Government was still working on modalities of regulating companies selling fuel in foreign currency.
Zera acting chief executive officer Mr Eddington Mazambani, responding to Chronicle’s emailed questions, said they were still working on regulations to govern stations selling fuel in foreign currency.
“There are regulations that will deal with operators who may attempt to violate the direct fuel import facility. Zera requested all interested operators to submit their applications to be considered for licensing to sell fuel in foreign currency. The applications are being compiled and a detailed analysis and classification of sites to be licensed by province and town will be availed in due course,” said Mr Mazambani.
He said once all the regulations have been put in place operators who will violate the law, will be penalised.
“A combination of civil and criminal procedures will be applied as part of enforcing the regulations. Punitive penalties are in place,” he said.
Mr Mazambani said operators who will be granted licences to sell fuel in foreign currency will be advertised in mainstream media as well as Zera’s social media platforms.