Yesterday we were doing our normal LP Gas prices survey when we decided to visit Zuva which is probably the country’s largest purveyor of Liquid Petroleum gas-simply called gas on the streets. As always we were hurling along our 15kg Orange tank for the usual test purchase. The large sign beside the road said LP Gas was going for US$2.05 per kg which is well below the current gazetted price of US$2.25 per kg. But we were curious and wanted to go beyond the sign. We wanted to know if it was still possible to buy LP Gas from Zuva using Zimbabwe’s official and own currency the ZWL/RTGS. The answer is no.

The attendant told us in no uncertain terms that they were no longer accepting ZWL cash, swipe, Ecocash or any and all forms of the Zimbabwean dollar that the government insists on using. We are a stubborn lot so we decided to test how widespread this policy was. Not only were we not able to buy LP Gas from other smaller branded outlets using swipe or any form of ZWL, but we were also turned away at three separate Zuva outlets. So there you have it. It is now official policy-if you want LP Gas from Zuva you have to pay in USD only as the company’s outlets will not accept ZWL.

Where to buy LP Gas using ZWL?

Thankfully we didn’t go back home empty-handed. We were at least able to make a purchase from a grey market LP Gas dealer who charged us an eye-watering rate of $600 ZWL. That was steep but at least we went home with some LP Gas and were not told no. So if you want to buy LP Gas using ZWL your only option is to go to the grey or black market. Official sellers will not be able to help you. You can now start to think of LP Gas in the same terms as fuel which is sold exclusively in USD by service stations.

Why is LP Gas important to most urban Zimbabweans?

LP Gas is used in a lot of urban households for cooking instead of electricity for a number of reasons. First, there is the cost factor. ZESA recently hiked the price of electricity pricing out ordinary households thanks to the stepped tariff structure which is antipoor. Then there is the fact that ZESA is often on a rigorous load-shedding schedule during winter times.