In a shocking revelation, it has emerged that recently appointed Energy and Power Development minister Fortune Chasi has no wholesome control of the country’s petroleum sector, Parliament heard on Thursday.
Parliament heard that at law ,Chasi has no control over the importation, transmission, distribution and many other aspects of the petroleum industry and such is the responsibility of the Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority (ZERA) .
Chasi told Parliament that neither him nor any citizen has any legal right to direct ZERA to deliver its mandate.
“The law requires that as ZERA does its work, it must not be subject to direction by anybody. I want to underline that anybody also refers to me as the Minister responsible for energy,” he said.
He went on to explain the thin line between his role and that of ZERA as stipulated by the law of the land.
“I want to speak about the Energy Regulatory Authority Act of 2011. This is the Act that creates the regulatory board that we commonly refer to as ZERA.
“This Act contains in Section 4, panoply of mandates for ZERA, in fact about 18 of them. The responsibilities of this authority range from importation, transmission, distribution and many other aspects of the petroleum industry. ZERA is given unfettered power to preside over this industry.
“I also want to say that the same law requires that as ZERA does its work, it must not be subject to direction by anybody. I want to underline that anybody also refers to me as the Minister responsible for energy,” he said.
Chasi said his role as the Energy minister is simply to issue general policy direction otherwise ZERA is responsible for fuel industry.
“The law also stipulates that the role of the minister is simply to issue general policy direction. “I have given this preface so that the honourable house is very clear as to what is expected of me and what is expected of ZERA itself,” he said.
He cited that the problems rising in the energy sector are a result of the disrespect for law, incompetence and lack of proper corporate governance.
“I also want to state that the problem we have in this sector arose from disrespect for the law, lack of corporate governance.
“I then want to say having identified that problem, because I have read a lot about each of the parastatals, it is quite evident to me that whether structure or foreign currency is in place we will not be able to sort out the issues at hand unless we deal with the issues of corporate governance,” he said.
Chasi has exhibited an open door policy where he has met fuel industry players twice since his appointment and openly invited them to ‘knock at his door’ if need be.
His latest meeting was on Thursday where he addressed the fuel players in Harare as he mapped a way forward.
“Government will consider the publication of the volumes of fuel supply and institution of returns from the retailers and make it open to the public to enhance transparency, you cannot hide that you have no fuel stocks,” he told them.
In an interview with Zim Morning Post, Chasi revealed that his ministry was at advanced stages of crafting a code of conduct that will guide fuel players.
“This will see a creation of a code of conduct and the remote monitoring of service stations which we will be running at high speed.
“We want to curb speculative behaviour so we have to put our foot down,” he said.