ZERA’s decision to shut down cash demanding service stations too harsh

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The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority  (ZERA) yesterday announced it had shutdown at least three service stations that were demanding payments in bond notes, the decision which has been widely condemned as too harsh for smooth business operations.

Zimbabwe currently uses the RTGS transfers and bond notes and coins as medium of exchange. However the latter has become more valuable as its scarcity on the market has raised demand with people charging a premium when one wants to pay using RTGS transfer.

This could be the reason why these service stations are now demanding payment in bond notes so that they leverage on the premium.

According to Energy Minister, Advocate Fortune Chasi, the service stations that were shutdown yesterday are Ruyamuro service stations in Glendale and at Ndzvimbo Growth point in Chiweshe and the reason is they were refusing other payment methods except cash.

The Minister also said other service stations are awaiting due process. This is a follow-up from Chasi’s early days where he said licenses would be withdrawn for those who flouted regulations, with due process of course.

However the decision has been condemned by the business society which said it is too harsh for the smooth operation of business. Most people responding to Chasi’s twitter handle said the Ministry could have looked at other available ways of enforcing the law.

Instead of closing the service stations the Ministry could have at least charged a huge penalty for collusion.

Asked about those charging only USD, Chasi said they will get there.

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