THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has started the process of compiling more applications from petroleum companies which have expressed interest to sell fuel in foreign currency.
Late last month the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) instructed Zera to register all fuel service stations that have free funds, which they can use to import fuel for sale in foreign currency.
RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya indicated that the central bank had given exchange control approval for Zera to receive applications from fuel companies that have free funds for direct imports to be sold in hard currency.
Zera acting chief executive officer Mr Eddington Muzambani told Sunday News Business that the energy regulator had started the process of compiling applications from petroleum companies to sell in foreign currency.
"Zera requested all interested operators to submit their applications to be considered for licensing to sell fuel in foreign currency. The applications are currently being compiled and the detailed analysis and classification of sites to be licensed by province and town will be availed in due course," he said.
Previously, only a few designated fuel service stations could sell fuel in forex in terms of Statutory Instrument 212 of 2019, which allowed only guests of State and diplomats to buy petrol, diesel or other petroleum products in foreign currency.
But Zuva Petroleum late last month announced it will be accepting foreign currency for fuel payments at eight of the firm's service stations across the country, in Harare (four) and one each in Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru and Victoria Falls.
Mr Muzambani said operators that are found liable to violating the Direct Fuel Import (DFI) facility risk having their licences cancelled.
"There are regulations that will deal with operators who may violate the DFI facility. A combination of civil and criminal procedure will be applied as part of enforcing the regulations. Suffice to say any violation of the DFI facility will result in cancellation of the licence under the provisions of the law," he said.
Mr Muzambani said Zera has over the past few years charged a number of petroleum companies that had been selling fuel in foreign currency without a license.
"Selling fuel in foreign currency was done under the provision of the law as provided under SI 161 of 2019, SI 212 of 2019 and circular number 8 of 2019 of the RBZ. Other sites that attempted to sell fuel in foreign currency were given compliance orders or charged for violation of their licence condition," he said.