Daniel Nemukuyu, Harare Bureau
NEWLY appointed Minister of Energy and Power Development Fortune Chasi yesterday took oath of office before President Mnangagwa at State House where he vowed to end fuel hoarding and other corrupt practices dogging the energy sector.
Minister Chasi said he will also keep an eye on critical parastastals in the fuel and power generation industry to ensure high standards of corporate governance.
The minister said he will empower the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) to enable them to take full charge of the sector and tightly monitor activities to restore order in the energy sector.
This followed a recent unearthing of a hoarding scam where a service station in Chinhoyi allegedly sold 10 000 litres of fuel to an individual despite a long winding queue of desperate motorists.
Minister Chasi replaced Cde Joram Gumbo who is now Presidential Affairs Minister responsible for implementation and monitoring.
Speaking after the ceremony, Minister Chasi said he would ensure improved availability of fuel and work towards plugging fuel leakages.
Minister Chasi said his first meeting with the fuel industry will discuss acts of misconduct by some fuel attendants and find ways of rectifying the problem.
“This afternoon I am meeting the fuel industry and get feedback from them on the fuel price adjustment.
“I would also like to speak to them about the misconduct that is going on at service stations, some of them going beyond the conditions of their licences regarding how much they can sell to a single customer.
“There are instances where 10 000 litres of fuel is sold to one person when there is a long queue and everybody else does not get fuel.
“There is a service station that has done so in Chinhoyi and I have asked ZERA to investigate that development so that we take remedial measures,” he said.
Minister Chasi said ZERA should be adequately empowered to deal with challenges in the fuel sector.
Minister Chasi said he will ensure ZERA takes full charge of the sector to do away with hoarding of fuel and other corrupt activities dogging the fuel industry.
He said fuel attendants should be called to order and stop illegal dealings that find diesel and petrol on the black market.
“Beyond that I would like ZERA to take charge of the industry in accordance with what their founding statute requires them to do. We intend to empower them in terms of their monitoring functions. We want to ensure there is no favouritism in the purchase of fuel.
“There is misconduct by fuel attendants that must end,” he said.
Minister Chasi said he will ensure that parastatals boards are properly constituted with members of high integrity with the zeal to improve service delivery.
“We must be very strong on the governance of parastals involved in the fuel and power generation. I am going to have an eagle’s eye on Zesa because it is a critical parastatal. I want to ensure that all the boards are sufficiently skilled. They should have men and women of integrity.
“I would like to ensure that procurement is done properly and ZERA should take charge of the industry to ensure transparency,” he said.
All eyes are now on Minister Chasi with the nation expecting him to come up with solutions to fuel shortages and power outages.
Minister Chasi, who comes from Chiweshe, was born in Bulawayo. he grew up and attended school there.
He studied law and practised as a legal practitioner for years.
He also worked as a public prosecutor. Minister Chasi was once employed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) before joining politics.
He is legislator for Mazowe South.
Minister Chasi also served as Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as well as Deputy Minister of Transport Infrastructure Development.
Vice President Kembo Mohadi and several senior Government officials graced the occasion.