Story by Stanley James, Business Editor
FLOURISHING economic activities under the Second Republic have seen an increase in fuel consumption by over 18% to more than 1.7 billion litres last year.
In its latest 2022 Annual Report, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) says Zimbabwe imported a record higher of 1,734 billion litres of fuel last year to sustain growth in demand by industry and commerce.
The trend, which reflects an 18.6% rise from over 1.4 billion litres the previous year, is also being confirmed by the increase in the uptake of development projects.
The trading industry which is the biggest contributor to overall economic growth is leading the pack in terms of fuel consumption followed by the mining sector whose drive for a US$12 billion industry by the end of this year has seen the expansion of projects and the entrance of new investments.
However, one of the interesting aspects is the increase in fuel retail outlets across the country after the regulatory authority confirmed it licensed 905 new service stations last year, from 882 in 2021.
By demographic patterns, Harare is leading the pack in provincial use of fuel, accounting for more than 50%.
Economists Mr Chris Mugari and Mr Edward Chimedza contend that the growth in mining, manufacturing and a conducive business environment are the key drivers of the record high fuel consumption.
“ The trend is showing that there is greater demand for fuel in the economy. This is reflected by the statistics which show that the productive sector continues to account for a huge part of fuel and with the ever-rising growth in the mining sector, the pattern reflects a positive indicator of how the economy continues to be on the growth trajectory and sustaining the needs of industry and commerce,” said Mr Chris Mugari.
Mr Chimedza said, “What is exciting is the upward trend in terms of the investments in the fuel retail stations. The fact that the nation is witnessing the ever-rising growth in new projects bears testimony of a favourable economic climate prevailing in the country, and going forward I foresee the trend continuing in line with the growth of several economic sectors, a development that augurs well with growth prospects.”
Data from ZERA is being availed when the Second Republic is achieving strides in ensuring adequate fuel supplies across the country.