by Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Zimbabwe on Tuesday announced a fresh increase in fuel prices, months after a price hike triggered nationwide protests and a brutal security crackdown as the country’s economic woes deepen further.
Upping prices by about 46%, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) said petrol would cost 4.97 a litre in the local RTGS dollar currency ($1.42/1.27 euro) and diesel would cost 4.89 RTGS dollars.
Zimbabwe petrol prices embattle consumers
— Awareness Zimbabwe (@CA_Zimbabwe) May 20, 2019
RTGS dollars are a local electronic currency introduced as Zimbabwe struggles with a shortage of the US dollar notes that have recently functioned as its national currency.
ZERA said the move followed new measures by the central bank removing a subsidy and a preferable exchange rate for fuel importers.
“Operators may sell petroleum products at prices below the cap,” ZERA acting CEO Edinton Mazambani said.
In January, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a more than 100% increase in fuel prices to tackle supply shortages as huge queues formed outside garages.
Fuel hikes near 150% in 2019
The price of petrol in Zimbabwe reached RTGS$4.97, up from RTGS$3.36. In South African terms, a litre of petrol will now cost R20.42 and a litre of diesel R20.09, according to the official RTGS$/rand exchange rate. Will South African Petrol Price touch R20 this year also?
— Ndzavi Derrick .CBA (@NdzaviDerrick) May 21, 2019
The price increase sparked nationwide protests which left at least 17 people dead after soldiers opened fire.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a downturn for years with cash shortages, high unemployment and a scarcity of basic staples like bread and cooking oil.
Mnangagwa, who took power when long-time leader Robert Mugabe was ousted in 2017, has vowed to attract investment and create jobs, with little success.
Inflation in April rose to over 75%.
Zimbabwe plans to re-introduce a local currency within a year after using the US dollar since its hyperinflation crisis a decade ago.