Figures from the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority show that diesel and fuel imports declined 20% in the ten-month period to a combined total of 933.9 million litres from 1.16 billion litres in the comparable year-ago period.
Diesel imports were down 22.06% to 608.99 million from 781.39 million last year with April, when much of the industry was shut down, dropping the most at 34.38 million litres, a decrease of 48.41% from the same period in 2019.
President Mnangagwa announced the first lockdown towards the end of March for three weeks and extended it by two weeks twice before he eased the restrictions to allow most businesses to operate. There was a recovery in May at 66.63 million litres but the availability of electricity and more recently the price increases seen from September kept diesel imports subdued.
Petrol imports also declined by 16% to 324.94 million litres from 387.23 million litres during the same period last year.
“The decline in the imports can be attributed to reduced economic activities during the Covid-19 imposed national lockdown measures,” said Zera chief executive officer Edington Mazambani.
Like diesel, petrol imports were at their lowest in April at 14.77 million litres from 39.54 million litres. Price adjustments saw petrol imports drop from the May peak of 44.12 million litres. In fact, apart from April, September and October had the lowest petrol imports at 25.48 million litres and 23.95 million litres respectively.
In terms of value, the country imported fuel worth US$347.55 million, an increase of 6% from the US$327.32 million seen last year. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, fuel imports make up 10% of the country’s foreign payments.