Tobacco bartered for fuel

HARARE - The government is believed to have lost foreign currency running into millions of dollars through transactions where some tobacco buyers were exchanging the crop for fuel.
It is understood that a number of transactions went through during the previous tobacco-marketing season where t

obacco merchants sourced fuel from South Africa in exchange for tobacco.
Herbert Murerwa, Finance Minister said no such transactions would be allowed this tobacco season: “All purchases by A class buyers will be settled in United States dollars and those who fail to raise US dollars will be assisted through a Memorandum of Deposit facility. Barter deals will not be allowed this year.”
He was speaking to guests attending the review of the tobacco-marketing season last week.
Government had allowed barter deals in a bid to avert the shortages of fuel, but had been prejudiced in the process because of the lack of tight monitoring.
John Chiweshe, chairman of the Tobacco Merchants Association, said none of his members were involved in barter deals.
Sources in the tobacco industry said top government officials were among buyers who benefited from the tobacco barter deals.

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