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Zimbabwean MPs key suppliers of fuel coupons to the black market

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Zimbabwe’s formal economy has been struggling to survive whilst the informal sector has become the key to livelihood. There seems to be a change for the better in many sectors including the fuel sector where service stations now have good stocks of the precious liquid. But black market activities have not ended completely. As one drives up to the pumps in most service stations a swarm of young boys approach you selling coupons at a price cheaper than that pump price.

One wonders how this illegal business is viable given that the fuel price is on the rise the world over? My talk to one informal trader of coupons provided a shocking revelation, which left me close to bursting with anger. He said some people have diesel coupons yet they want petrol so they negotiate an exchange with these dealers who in turn charge a fee for the deal. It also emerged that some people have easy access to coupons, which they sell at a discount on the black market. It also emerged that the key suppliers of fuel are government officials including Members of Parliament who offload thousands of liters on the black market in the form of coupons.

The vendor revealed that yesterday (17 June 2010) some of his colleagues had a fight over about 5000 liters of fuel coupons, which a certain MP had come to offload at the BP Service Station on the corner of Fourth Street and Samora Machel Avenue. The dealers normally buy one 25-litre fuel coupon at US$22 and sell at US$25. The MP is said to have come with two full books of coupons of which one is 2500 liters worth of coupons. The MP is said to have asked the boys to offer good money, and they started bidding against each other, until they could buy the two books at US$24 per coupon.

The fight and the supply of fuel is not my problem; but the problem is where do these MPs get that much of fuel to sell on the black market? It becomes suspicious especially at a time when these MPs are set to take on a big role in the constitution making process. To make the deal more suspicious the MP is reported to have refused to receive the money on the spot. Instead he offered to carry the boys to some unnamed hotel to finish the deal. The government is broke and civil servants are sacrificing themselves to work without enough take-home money. Yet the politicians are busy lining their pockets with national resources. Lately the MPs have been demanding unrealistically hefty rewards for taking part in the constitution making process.

If they get these coupons from the government, one wonders how one person is given that many coupons at once? The administration has a case to answer. It is really disappointing to note that corrupt tendencies are at the top of the government. How will we heal the economy when the healing system comprises rotten elements? The first healing step is to bring these elements to book. Who then should lead the investigation and the arrest of these people?

One comment to “Zimbabwean MPs key suppliers of fuel coupons to the black market”

  1. Comment by Global Voices in English » Zimbabwe: MPs key suppliers of fuel on black market:

    [...] Dydimus reports that government officials in Zimbabwe and Members of Parliament are key suppliers of fuel on the black market [...]