Legislators reject PetroTrade fuel coupons, claim ‘company has no fuel’
Legislators from both ruling and opposition parties have rejected Petrotrade fuel coupons because the company’s service stations in several parts of the country have no fuel.
The issue was raised by opposition MDC Alliance MP Sipho Mokone during Thursday’s National Assembly seating.
“On a point of order! Thank you Mr. Speaker, my point of order arises from the fact that it seems like Petrotrade coupons have already been issued but my worry now is that there is no fuel at Petrotrade. For me to leave Harare and go to Gwanda where I stay which is almost 700 km, there is no Petrotrade in Gwanda, so I do not how I am going to move out of this place,” she asked.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya buttressed the question challenging the reason why MPs were given Petrotrade’s RTGS fuel coupons.
“On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. With all due respect, administration comes from policy. So implementation comes from a certain pot. The Minister of Finance is responsible for disbursing funds to Parliament which they then administer. So there has been a major policy shift. We need to interrogate why we had moved from Petro Trade to Redan,” he argued.
“It was on the realisation that Petro Trade is valued in RTGS. You have now taken us back from a USD fuel component to an RTGS fuel component. That was an agreement that was done at SROC level to move away from the RTGS fuel component to a USD component.
“Therefore, the fundamentals can only be coming from the Minister of Finance who has given Parliament, not the USD to implement and administer but the RTGS.
“This is why it bounces back to the Minister of Finance. Did you give Parliament the US dollars to pay for Redan fuel coupons which are US dollars. If he says yes, then we let him go and we aim our arrows at the Parliament Administration and say you were given US dollars, why did you pay for RTGs fuel.
“That is my point. So, he has to respond to the effect that did he give Parliament US dollars for them to buy Redan coupons? That is what we want to know.”
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube responded saying the issue of fuel was an administrative issue, hence it could be solved.
“The issue being raised is very important. The policy is that Members of Parliament should get their fuel. That is policy and it is still in place. The issue of where they will get their fuel is an administrative issue.
“If Parliament wishes to procure their fuel from a US dollar source, we will gladly give them US dollars. There is no problem at all and we have always done that. There is no impediment at all. It is an administrative issue not a policy issue,” he said.
Zanu-PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi also supported the issue.
“With all due respect to the Minister and the Administration of Parliament, I heard about the PetroTrade fuel last night circulating on the groups and I thought they were just rumours,” Togarepi said.
“Then today it got very intense and I phoned the Clerk, he could not answer. Then I phoned Zvamada who is a director here and I even quoted some of the discussions by Members and sent them so he could get the Members’ feelings.
“The director then said it was not the Administration’s issue but they were called and advised that from now onwards, they buy fuel from PetroTrade and Genesis. So, I think the issue, like the Minister is saying, is maybe we invite Parliament Administration tomorrow.”