Fuel shortages show lack of foresight


REPORTS of fuel shortages in Victoria Falls do not auger well for the revival of the tourism industry as they come at a time the country is still reaping fruits of the successful hosting of the 20th United Nations World Tourism Organisation assembly.

The assembly that was attended by delegates from all over the world last August put Victoria Falls on the world tourism map.

Expectations were that tourists would start flocking into the resort town especially this festive season.

Besides an influx of local and foreign holiday makers, the town is hosting the annual Jameson Victoria Falls Carnival, which has seen hotel occupancy rates reaching 90%.

The town would be a hive of activity for at least three days, but obviously the limited fuel supplies would restrict holiday makers and scare away those that had intended to make the trip to Victoria Falls from other parts of the country.

Shortages of fuel come at a time the government is trying to force the E10 fuel blend down the throats of motorists.
Tour operators in Victoria Falls have revealed they are sceptical about using E10, which they say is damaging their vehicles and is expensive to use.

Long-winding queues at fuel service stations reportedly started well before the Christmas holidays and they should be an indication of the monopoly the government has created through the legislation of mandatory use of E10.

The cost to the economy from such artificial shortages is vast and would not be confined to tourism alone.

Motorists should be given the choice to use fuel they prefer and in a situation such as the one obtaining in Victoria Falls the government must be in a position to profer a solution before it spirals into a crisis.

The authorities are obliged to move with urgency to solve the fuel crisis in Victoria Falls.

Measures should also be put in place to ensure that this does not become a national crisis because the economy is too fragile for such disruptions.