By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Former Finance minister and MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti has claimed that Zimbabwe has become a colony of the Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians and “some little banana republics in Eastern Europe” amid their activity in the country’s struggling economy.
In an interview with MDC Alliance National Spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere on Saturday, Biti accused Russian based companies like Trafigura and Russian linked Sakunda Holdings for capturing the Zimbabwean economy especially in the fuel sector.
“Right now they are active in six key areas of our economy. The first one is the US$. If you want stability in this country, you need to actually close the Reserve Bank because it has been the source of distortions. Number two is fuel. You have got Sakunda and Trafigura.
“Trafigura is owned by Russian mafia. Under president Mugabe there was a danger that Zimbabwe would be a colony of the Chinese. Under Mr Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe has become a colony of the Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians and some little banana republics in Eastern Europe,” Biti said.
Biti added that, “Trafigura are Russians, they are in bed with Sakunda. They own 50% of the pipeline from Feruka in Mutare to Msasa but they manage this pipeline from Beira to Msasa.
“This is crazy they have the monopoly of every drop of fuel that comes through that pipeline. So it is a supply side monopoly. Trafigura does not own any fuel pipeline. Why should we give a monopoly to a company in a country that is not oil producing.”
Biti slammed the ruling Zanu PF regime for being bribed by another fuel mogul, Billy Rautenbach in 2013 and allegedly allowed him monopoly over importation of ethanol.
“There is another thug called Billy Rautenbach. He bribed some Zanu PF people in 2013 and a statutory instrument was made called SI 17 of 2013. It says anyone who wants to bring ethanol in Zimbabwe can only do so if you are in a joint venture agreement with the Government of Zimbabwe, which is a euphemism for saying if you are Billy Rautenbach or Green Fuel.
“So Billy supplies all the ethanol in Zimbabwe that is sold in all these gas stations which is a supply side distortion. It is unfair. If you look at the breakdown of prices of ethanol, Billy is selling ethanol in US$ at anything between US$ 1 and US$ 1,20 a litre of ethanol when right now you can import FOB ethanol at anything between US$ 0,40 to US$ 0,50 from Brazil and USA and because they were good rains in Brazil, sugarcane did so well so you can actually bring it at US$ 0,40.
“So why can’t ethanol being imported into Zimbabwe the same way we import petrol and diesel. Why are we at the mercy of Billy Rautenbach.
“The irony is that when the price of crude is at its all-time low, when all producing countries under OPAC are literally paying all consuming countries to consume for free, in Zimbabwe it is going up because of Mr Rautenbach, Mr Mnangagwa and Mr Chasi,” Biti added. Nehanda Radio