Government and stakeholders in the fuel industry have finally met as part of efforts to resume operations at the Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant and strike a balance on the need to institute a policy that will make the blending of all imported fuel mandatory.The dialogue is expected to iron out differences and obstacles that have led to the shutting down of the ethanol project almost four weeks ago.
ARDA board chairman, Mr. Basil Nyabadza confirmed that stakeholders in the fuel industry met with the inter-ministerial committee in Harare to brainstorm on the challenges that have led to the shutting down of the ethanol plant.
Among the issues discussed was the need to make it mandatory for all imported fuel to be blended.
It was also agreed that the 5 000 jobs created by the ethanol project should be sustained.
Nyabadza noted that players in the ethanol sector are confident that once a statutory instrument to have all fuel blended is crafted, prices of fuel will drop to below $1.30 per litre.
The Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant which started operations about six months ago, ceased production last month as there was nowhere to store the ethanol.
The project has a 10 million litre holding capacity which was already full as fuel dealers resisted to blend.
Some economists say the ethanol project is one of the ventures with the potential to bust illegal sanctions.
Besides cutting the fuel import bill by US$10 million a month, the project has a potential to generate electricity enough for the whole of Manicaland Province.Â