Harare-Small fuel importers have been relieved after the High Court on Wednesday reversed the decision by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) to issue fuel import licenses to only eight major fuel companies in Zimbabwe, The Herald reports.
Small fuel importers were not included on ZERA’s list of fuel companies to be issued licenses because ZERA believed that they have no major impact on the country’s fuel supplies.
ZERA had allowed the following companies to import fuel directly; Total Zimbabwe, Glow Petroleum, Ram Petroleum, Genesis Energy, Vivo Energy, Zuva Petroleum, Sakunda Petroleum, and Redan Petroleum.
Enraged by the ZERA’s edict, Direct Fuel Imports (DFI) Group Zimbabwe and Indigenous Petroleum Association of Zimbabwe (IPAZ), reached the High Court litigating ZERA and Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi over the licensing of selected fuel importers.
They wanted the suspension of ZERA’s notice with the aim to review the licensing processes, which they opposed saying it was veiled privately and facilitated the monopolisation of the fuel sector by the big fuel companies.
They were later allowed, after Justice Tawanda Chitapi granted a provisional order, to bring in their consignments awaiting the conclusion of the matter.
The two groups can now temporarily make use of their 2019 licenses to import fuel while they are waiting for the judge to avail the full reasons for the judgement.
Being represented by its lawyer Mr. Frank Nyangani, the DFI Group’s argument was that the proposed licensing conditions were marginalising small fuel companies, which was more likely to cause monopolistic tendencies by the big fuel importers, contrary to Zera’s mandate of promoting “effective competition between persons engaged in the petroleum industry”.
In response to the argument by the DFI Groups, ZERA, through its lawyer Sawyer and Mkushi law firm, said the fuel importers were not enlisted because they had failed to meet the requirements to be issued fuel licenses, especially a requirement of having at least 15 retail service stations.
Smaller fuel importers were excluded because there were growing fears that were feeding the black market.