By Phyllis Mbanje
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) yesterday increased the price of petrol by 85 cents to sell at ZWL6,10 while diesel now costs ZWL5,84, a move that has raised fears of another wave of price increases on the market.
By 7am yesterday, most service stations were already selling at the new prices, while others initially delayed serving customers until they had effected the new prices.
Commuters will have to dig deeper into their pockets as public transporters started hiking fares by between 50c and ZWL 2. Motorists interviewed said they were increasingly finding it difficult to buy fuel.
“We are wallowing in poverty and now it will be worse. These increases have a ripple effect and soon everything else will shoot up again,” said Pius Mureriwa, an auditor at a private firm.
Another motorist, Stanley Chasakara, who during weekends uses his vehicle as a taxi plying the Parirenyatwa – City route, said the situation was now untenable.
“I do not think I will be able to do the rounds anymore because that is not making sense. After spending hours queuing for a few litres of fuel, it will be hard to try and pick up a few passengers. I would rather keep the fuel for school runs and work,” he said.
However his colleagues parked along Leopold Takawira Avenue seemed unperturbed and said they would just increase the fares to match the fuel adjustment.
“What can we do? This is our source of money, so we will adjust accordingly. We feel for the commuters, but that is just the way it is,” said one of the pirate taxi operators.
Lately prices of a few basic commodities had been going down, but with the latest fuel price increases this is bound to change.
“It has become a normal trend that when fuel goes up so does everything,” said Chasakara.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, speaking during an Alpha Media Holdings event last week, warned of the imminent increase in the prices of electricity and fuel.
“The price of fuel is likely to go up. I think what will be ideal would be if the price of fuel is close to or equivalent to a US$1. If you look around the region, that’s the ideal. So we will also get there, but we won’t get there in a big bang; it has to be gradual, not a big bang as long as we hold the exchange rate,” Ncube said.