HARARE – Motorists in Zimbabwe have been queuing for hours as fuel pumps run dry, with many filling stations in the capital Harare empty on Wednesday as the country suffered its second fuel crisis in just over a month amid a severe dollar shortage.
Since the July 30 election which many had hoped would lay the foundations for an economic recovery, Zimbabweans have seen inflation race into double digits due to shortages of basic goods, all blamed on an underlying lack of dollars to pay for those goods.
Zimbabwe dumped its currency in 2009 after it was rendered worthless by hyperinflation and it instead adopted the US dollar.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said the latest fuel shortages were caused by the government’s decision last week to allow gold and platinum mining companies to retain more of their dollar earnings, which meant less hard cash for fuel imports.
“Unfortunately all those measures which are designed to stimulate one sector means that you have to take away forex allocation from other sectors, so that’s what happens. It’s a balancing game,” Ncube told reporters.