Zimbabwe

Motorists flock to Mozambican town to refuel

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Thur 7 July 2005 MANICA, Mozambique - Desperate Zimbabwean motorists are flocking to this small Mozambican town to buy fuel which is in short supply in their country.

Zimbabwe is going through a severe five-year fuel crisis blamed on the government's failure to raise enough foreign currency to import the commodity.

Desperate motorists from the eastern border city of Mutare are now crossing over to Manica in Mozambique, about 20km from the border, to buy the fuel. The fuel crisis is threatening to virtually ground the country to a halt as thousands of motorists battle to secure supplies.

A ZimOnline correspondent witnessed Zimbabwean motorists jostling for fuel at run down fuel stations in Manica.

A manager at one of the fuel stations, Calu di Mimizinha said the price of fuel had jumped from Z$22 000 to $27 000 due to the sudden overwhelming demand.

"We don't usually have any queues here because we have plenty of fuel but as you can see, queues are forming. These are Zimbabweans desperate for fuel because they have none in their country," he said.

A Zimbabwean motorist, Ben Kariwo said: "It's cheaper to buy the fuel here. Even if it was expensive, this is where it is available anyway. But when you compare black market prices back home, then you will appreciate we are getting a deal.

"The exchange rate for the currency is 1:1 so there are no headaches in calculating the money. The only set back is that I am allowed only an extra 30 litres at the border," he said.

A litre of petrol sells at Z$10 000 at garages in Zimbabwe but on the thriving black market, it is selling for Z$60 000. - ZimOnline