Zimbabwe is on the verge of running dry as fuel queues have re-emerged, with motorists forced into panic-buying of the precious liquid.

Queues are visible almost everywhere, with some filling station operators saying they last received deliveries two weeks ago.

“We have had no deliveries for almost two weeks now. We are in near-crisis. The situation could degenerate if nothing is done.
There is little explanation, but the reality is there is no money to pay. There is no foreign currency,” NewsDay heard.

Energy ministry permanent secretary Patson Mbiriri, however, sought to allay fears of a possible fuel crisis, but admitted forex shortages were to blame.

 “We have sufficient fuel stocks in the country. These are bonded though. We need nostro dollars or foreign currency to redeem them,” he said yesterday.

NewsDay also heard that the process of blending could be creating bottlenecks in the fuel value chain.

“The government has issued an order to have all fuel coming into the country blended first. That is creating havoc because of capacity issues.
There are delays in the blending process and that is also responsible for the ‘artificial’ shortages in the market,” an insider said.

There are also unsubstantiated claims that the government has moved the blending of fuel to Chisumbanje in the Lowveld, making it even more expensive for fuel importers. newsday