elton mangoma 13-02-12.jpgEnergy and Power Development Minister, Mr Elton Mangoma (pictured) has come under heavy criticism for letting down the country by failing to institute policies which promote the ethanol project established at ARDA Chisumbanje, which has the potential to cut fuel imports and generate electricity in the country.

The introduction of the blended fuel, which has hit the market after the completion of the Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant a few months ago, has sparked debate in the economy.

While the majority of people have welcomed the setting up of the ethanol plant, some individuals are alleged to be working towards sabotaging the project.

Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa had no kind words for the responsible Minister, Mr Mangoma, whom he accused of failing to differentiate between politics and investment.

“The Minister of Energy should be condemned at all costs. The ethanol project was started three years ago but for some reasons, the Minister is reluctant to institute or move a bill that compels fuel dealers to go for blending which serves foreign currency. This is unacceptable, Minister Mangoma need to be reminded to stop holding the country at ransom for personal interest,” said Ambassador Mutsvangwa.

Economic analyst, Mr Jonathan Kadzura cited lack of coordination within the central government, saying it is of paramount importance for the responsible authorities to stop politicking with such projects of national interest.

“Yes, the blending of all imported fuel should be compulsory because this project of ethanol is a local venture with the potential to unlock employment, cut fuel imports and reduce prices. This calls for a serious campaign to educate users and even the Minister himself on the importance of such a project,” noted Mr Kadzura, who added that there is urgent need to put in place a legislation to promote the new initiative.

Asked for comment, Minister Mangoma professed ignorance over the call to institute a statutory instrument that will compel all fuel dealers to blend their fuel.

“I am not aware of anything to do with the ethanol project. That it has stopped production is news to me. After all, there is no need to put a legislation to compel all dealers, dealers must be allowed to choose what they need, not for me to force them,” Minister Mangoma said.

A survey conducted by ZBC News shows that several service stations have started selling the blended fuel with motorists expressing satisfaction over its performance whilst others feel that if all fuel is blended, it will help reduce the prices.

The ethanol project has a potential of reducing the export bill by US$120 million annually when operational.

Apart from being cheaper, ethanol fuel is more environmentally friendly.