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Liquified Petroleum Gas shortage looms

A shortage of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) looms in the country after the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) ordered wholesale players to have their own branded 48kgs gas cylinders by 31 July 2023 or have their licences cancelled.

ZERA said LPG wholesalers will not be allowed to use cylinders not traceable to licensed brands after 31 July.

ZERA also require LPG wholesalers to meet the minimum fixed storage capacity of 40 tonnes and not sell LPG gas to unlicensed retailers, failure to do that will have their licenses revoked.

LP gas traders have warned that this may result in a shortage of the product locally and push prices at a time demand is high during winter.

The Liquified Petroleum Gas Association of Zimbabwe (LPGAZ) has written to ZERA appealing for an extension of the deadline to allow the delivery of cylinders purchased overseas that are still to be delivered.

On 05 June 2023, LPGAZ Chairman Gift Patsika wrote a letter to ZERA requesting a meeting so that they explain their predicament. Wrote Patsika:

We, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association of Zimbabwe, representing more than twenty-five (25) LPG wholesalers in Zimbabwe, do hereby kindly request an urgent meeting with your office.

We are deeply concerned by the letters our members have received in relation to the cancellation of licences, hence we request a meeting prior to the hearings.

We would greatly appreciate a quick response at your earliest convenience and we look forward to meeting you soon.

Patsika told The Herald that all their members have purchased the branded cylinders from Asian countries but will only be delivered post-July deadline. He said:

These tanks are imported from China, India and Turkey and as such it takes a bit of time to get them.

COVID-19 and the recent earthquake in China slowed down the shipment of some of the tanks, we appeal to the regulator for a dialogue to find a lasting solution to this.

The little gas available in the country will be very expensive working the demand-supply notion.

We are already in winter and the demand for electricity and gas goes up.

In February this year, ZERA said the requirement to have branded 48kg LPG cylinders is meant to improve cylinder control, maintenance and safety.

LPG wholesalers are required to maintain accurate inventories of their 48kg cylinders indicating their serial numbers and state of maintenance. – (Pindula)

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