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Zimbabwe hikes fuel prices again as crisis deepens

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A petrol attendant serves a motorcyclist with two jerry cans attached to his motorbike at a fuel station, on January 11, 2019 in Harare. – Motorists are spending nights waiting in long queues for petrol and diesel as the country is experiencing crippling fuel shortages. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / 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 economy woes deepen further.

Upping prices by about 46 percent, 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.

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 percent increase in fuel prices to tackle supply shortages as huge queues formed outside garages.

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 percent.

Zimbabwe plans to re-introduce local currency within a year after using the US dollar since its hyperinflation crisis a decade ago.


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