Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) yesterday said liquefied petroleum (LP) gas shortages being experienced in the country have been caused by an accident which occurred at a supply plant in South Africa.
The authority said congestion and delays in clearing of both humans and cargo at Beitbridge Border Post compounded the problem.
Bulawayo and other parts of the country have been experiencing an acute shortage of LP gas.
The shortages have resulted in prices shooting up by up to 80 percent.
Prior to the latest shortages, a kilogramme of LP Gas was being sold for between US$1,20 and US$1,30 but following the shortages traders who had limited supplies increased the price to US$2 or R40 and R50 per kg.
Responding to Chronicle’s questions yesterday, Zera chief executive officer Mr Edington Mazambani said the authority has observed that LP Gas supplies have been depressed in the past few weeks.
“The authority constantly monitors the sector and is aware of the depressed supply of LP Gas experienced in the past weeks. The shortage is attributed to an accident that occurred at one of the largest suppliers of LPG in South Africa where the majority of wholesalers in Zimbabwe procure from,” said Mr Mazambani.
He, however, did not shed light on measures being put in place to address the problem.
Mr Mazambani said normalcy is expected to return by the end of the week.
He said the congestion at Beitbridge Border Post also worsened the situation.
“LP Gas procurers use the road system to transport the product and this was greatly affected by the congestion at the Beitbridge Border Post due to the festive season and the Covid-19 screening protocols which delayed movement of people at the border. The situation is expected to normalise by mid-January 2021,” said Mr Mazambani.
In the past three weeks, delays and congestion at Beitbridge Border Post resulted in cargo and members of the public spending days waiting for clearance.
The situation has started normalising as most people returned to South Africa last week.
Mr Mazambani said Government was in the process of regulating LP Gas prices as part of the reforms within the petroleum sector.
Users of LP Gas have lobbied the Government to regulate the pricing of the energy source which has become a serious substitute for electricity. – @nqotshili