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Fuel Firms Risk Losing Licences For Abusing RBZ Forex

Government has issued a stern warning to delinquent fuel companies that are abusing foreign currency they obtain from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) through the auction system.

The oil firms stand accused of obtaining cheap foreign currency from the RBZ’s weekly auction system for fuel procurement and importation before they illegally sell the product in foreign currency instead of the local currency.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists Wednesday the government had issued enough warning to the errant fuel companies and would now not hesitate to withdraw fuel trading licenses or force them to pay heavy fines.

“Cabinet noted with deep concern that some fuel companies are abusing the foreign currency obtained from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe auction system to procure fuel and then sell the fuel to consumers in foreign currency,” she said.

“The companies are supposed to follow laid down regulations to enable the general motoring public to access fuel in the local currency.

“Cabinet was furnished with a comprehensive list of the companies and retail outlets abusing the foreign currency facility and directed that firm action be instituted against the unscrupulous traders.

“The action involves the prosecution of offenders, cancellation of fuel trading licenses, or a heavy fine as shall be determined by the team of relevant line Ministries in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as the source of the funds so abused.”

Information available shows that half of the fuel on the market is procured through the RBZ foreign currency auction system and should be sold in local currency.

However, some corrupt fuel service station operators benefitting from the facility are reluctant to accept payment from motorists using the local currency demanding foreign currency.

Only service stations that source their own foreign currency and fuel through the direct fuel imports facility are mandated to sell the product in foreign currency.

In the event that fuel dealers are using both personal and RBZ facilities to source foreign currency to import fuel, the amount of fuel from the RBZ facility must be available to motorists in local currency.

According to the RBZ governor John Mangudya at least 12 companies have been banned from participating at the auction system for breaching set rules while 62 are under the apex banks Financial Intelligence Unit’s (FIU) watch. NewZimbabwe

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