Tichaona Zindoga Deputy Editor
Government and technocrats in the energy sector yesterday finalised a framework to operationalise rebates for transport operators and industry to cushion the public from price hikes, The Herald can reveal. This comes as a raft of interventions by President Mnangagwa to arrest the fuel crisis and hardships in the country begin to be effected.
This follows an increase in the price of fuel on Saturday, with indications, however, that there would be rebates for productive sectors of the economy such as transporters.
Yesterday, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Mangaliso Ndlovu revealed that experts from the Ministry of Energy and the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority had put in hours to craft the rebate framework.
He said public transport operators had rushed to hike fares out of ignorance.
“Already some transport operators have hiked fares yet they will be covered by the rebate (announced by President Mnangagwa),” he said.
“There is a rebate for the public transport sector and also for industry in the productive sectors. What is now being determined is the quantum of the rebates,” he said.
The measures should come as a relief to the commuting public as the cost of travel had shot up over the past few weeks owing to shortages of fuel. At the weekend, fuel prices rose $3,11 and $3,31 respectively for diesel and petrol, prompting further fare hikes.
However, Government has made interventions to ensure that hardship does not spiral further down.
On Saturday evening, President Mnangagwa announced that Government had decided to grant a rebate to all registered business entities in manufacturing, mining, commerce, agriculture and transport sectors.
These cost mitigations and incentives are designed to curtail price increases. Additionally, Government increased the export incentive scheme by additional 2,5 percent as it also mooted measures to cushion its employees from economic challenges.
The latter is being carried under the rubric Cost of Living Adjustment and a package will be unveiled in April.
Regarding the fuel situation, President Mnangagwa announced measures to ensure availability and curb continued misuse of fuel in the country.
To this end, Government, through relevant departments which include its security structures, is launching a comprehensive audit of all fuel draw-downs with a view to establishing points of leakage and possible corruption.