by Almot Maqolo
National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (Noic) says it requires about US$1,5 million to complete the construction of its two ethanol storage tanks at its Mabvuku depot in Harare.
The firm began operations as NOIC in March 2011 after it was unbundled from its predecessor, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.
Noic chief executive Wilfred Matukeni told standardbusiness that acute shortages of foreign currency were stalling the completion of the tanks, which have a combined storage capacity of six million litres.
“We had a few issues in terms of the challenges of foreign currency availability,” he said.
“I think that now we have got this interbank foreign currency exchange, we expect that more of that currency will be availed so that we complete the project.
“All in all, now I think we will need about US$1,5 million that is required to complete it.”
The project was supposed to be in full swing by December last year.
“All the civil works have been completed, the tank fabrication is nearing completion and should be about 90% complete. What is remaining is the mechanical and the electrical, these are the ones which require foreign currency to buy,” Matukeni said.
“If all goes well and we get the foreign currency within the next six months we should have done the testing.”
The southern African nation has in the past been emphasising on the need to promote ethanol blending to cut the cost of petroleum imports amid worsening foreign currency challenges.
In June 2018, the country increased the mandatory blending ratio of unleaded petrol from 15% ethanol to 20%.