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Zimbabwe allows mines, others to import own fuel as shortages bite
HARARE, March 5 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe on Tuesday allowed
mining companies and other businesses to import their own fuel
following shortages that have gripped the economy in the last
six months due to a severe dollar crunch, a cabinet minister
Supplies of fuel in the southern African nation have been
intermittent since September, which has seen motorists spending
hours in queues at service stations.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa in January announced a 150
percent hike in the price of fuel, sparking violent protests in
major towns, which were met by a brutal security crackdown.
"Cabinet has given a green light to large companies such as
those in the mining sector, transport sector, commerce to use
their funds to import fuel for their use," Information Minister
Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.
The world's top two platinum producers Anglo American
Platinum and Impala Platinum Holdings are some
of the big mining companies operating in Zimbabwe, which will be
able to buy their own fuel.
Zimbabwe's central bank provides between $80 and $100
million a month in scarce dollars to fuel companies to import
the commodity. By allowing companies to buy their own fuel, the
government expects to ease pressure on demand for dollars.
Long queues that resurfaced last week after a brief lull
continued on Tuesday and Mutsvangwa said the government had been
forced to take 8 million litres of diesel from the country's
strategic reserve to supply the market.
Despite previous promises by the central bank and energy
minister to end the fuel shortages, Zimbabwean motorists have
got used to queuing for hours for the scarce resource.
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; editing by David Evans)
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