The fuel price increases in Zimbabwe will further hurt consumers, already reeling from the high cost of living.


THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has reviewed the price of petrol upwards in both local and foreign currencies.

Petrol in foreign currency has been increased by three cents from US$1.54 to US$1.57 per litre and in local currency petrol is now costing $992.45 from $976.17 per litre.

The price of diesel remained unchanged in foreign currency at US$1.73 per litre and it was reviewed downwards in local currency from $1 094.77 to $1 091.75 per litre.

In a statement, Zera said prices were effective from Wednesday.

“The public and operators are advised that the blending ratio remains at E20. Operators may sell the petroleum products below the prescribed prices depending on their trading advantages and should display prices in a prominent place as provided for by the fuel pricing regulations,” Zera said.

This comes amid fears that the recent steep increases in administered prices — those charged by the government and its agencies — could unbalance the economy and once again see long-suffering consumers facing fresh hikes in the prices of basic goods.

It also comes as the prices of electricity and road toll fees went up significantly, at a time when both the economy and prices of basic goods were experiencing relative stability owing to a raft of measures that were implemented by authorities in the past three months.

At the same time, the development comes as both black market foreign currency rates and month-on-month inflation have been holding steady, with the Zimbabwe dollar now almost nearing convergence with the greenback on parallel markets.

Economic experts who spoke to the Daily News On Sunday last month warned that the latest stiff increases in administered prices could erode the economic gains that had been made in recent months — with businesses likely to pass on the costs to consumers.

The president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Kurai Matsheza, said the latest increase in administered prices would significantly raise the cost of doing business in the country.

“We have seen some price stability over the past three months and month-on-month inflation has been coming down.

“However, with some of the parastatals increasing their prices, this will militate against bringing down inflation. Thus, the fear is that we might start to see some prices ticking up again,” Matsheza told the Daily News On Sunday last month.

The president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR), Denford Mutashu, also said the new hikes in government charges were likely to affect the economic stability which had been witnessed in recent months.

“There is a general trend to increase prices in local currency only by both the private and public sectors, which is driven by the supply chain and slight movements in the exchange rate.

“This can lead to an increase in the prices of basic commodities, which we hope won’t happen,” he said.

Economist Prosper Chitambara also said while the statutory price increases were necessary, as they had become uncompetitive, they were going to affect businesses and result in more price hikes.

“The reason for the increases is probably that they are experiencing huge pressures in terms of their input, for example, labour.

“With Zesa, their pricing was sub-economic compared with other regional countries and global peers. Our purchasing power in real terms has been on the low side. So, I am sure they are trying to make sure that their pricing is cost reflective,” he said.

Consumers are paying $17, 21 per unit of electricity for the first 50 units. The figure for between 51 and 100 units was recently increased to $34, 50 per unit, while for 101 to 200 units; it is now $60, 44 per unit.

For anything above 200 to 300 units, consumers are required to pay $86, 29 per unit, and those breaching the 300 unit mark will have to pay $103, 09 per unit. – Daily News