Government Issues Statement Telling A Start-up To Stop Fuel Home Deliveries

Barely a week after, Fresh In a Box introduced its on-demand fuel home delivery service, the government has stepped in to burst their bubble by instructing them to stop that. The government, through The Ministry of Energy and Power Development, issued a statement saying that fuel cannot be sold if a retailer doesn’t have a license nor a permit from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA). The Ministry’s statement said;

“Section 29 of the Petroleum Act states that no one shall retail petroleum products without a ZERA license. EMA Act Chapter 20:27 & SI 12, 2007 requires anyone wishing to transport hazardous to have a Permit from EMA.”

Fresh In A Box had partnered with Heavy Fuels, a petroleum retailer in Zimbabwe to deliver fuel to vulnerable customers such as the sick, elderly and pregnant women. Which made this on-demand service a noble one. The sick and the elderly had the convenience of receiving fuel at home in a jerrycan, whilst just paying the official fuel price (pump price) on top of a relatively affordable delivery price. Given the hassle of finding fuel in Zimbabwe these days, Fresh In A Box’s service was really needful for these ‘kind of people’ as it would probably take a toll on their health to wait on a queue for hours. But the government has chosen to pay no attention to that by just showing Fresh In A Box what the rulebook says,- which is, in a way, right because laws have to be obeyed even in a good scenario.


Home delivery of fuel was a natural forward step for Fresh In A Box as it already had good distribution and logistics capabilities that it borrowed from its home delivery of vegetables. Also, it would have banked on its customers from the vegetables home delivery service to also start to use the fuel home delivery service.

However, the government’s statement failed to kill the entrepreneurial spirit of Fresh In A Box as it (Fresh In A Box) it came up with a new plan of delivering fuel coupons instead of delivering fuel. In its statement, Fresh In A Box said;

To avoid faulting any Zimbabwean law and ZERA regulations , we will not be delivering fuel to your home. We will deliver coupons that you can redeem at your convenience at Heavy Fuels (Zimbabwes First EGarage). NO long waits for our vulnerable customers

As you can see, Fresh In A Box seems determined to make the fuel venture live on by trying to legally get around the law. Not sure if the government will swallow it this time or they will draw out another section from the Petroleum Act to demotivate Fresh In A Box again.


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7 thoughts on “Government Issues Statement Telling A Start-up To Stop Fuel Home Deliveries

  1. Gotta love Africa. The problem that the startup is trying to solve should never exist if government did their job properly. Instead of being ashamed at running things so badly that we don’t have fuel government enforces laws that stop companies trying to alleviate their mess. This is our normal.

    1. Nothing to do with your self-hatred for Africa.

      Petrol is a class 3 flammable liquid. There are global safety standards on how to handle and store fuel, moreso if one is retailing or selling en masse

      You are ignorant

  2. This is a major problem with Zimbabwe.
    We rush to turn crimes into businesses. In turn, the Zimbabwean Govt is very lazy to charge those that commit such crimes.

    With zero consultiñg, no due legal process, no registration, these guys set up a crime syndicate and started distributing fuel.

    The streets are full of people selling dvds, etc, and the Govt just sits by.

    1. Sometimes the law is not clear. One would argue for example Uber is an illegal enterprise in some cities

      1. Trust me it is clear. You just have to do your research before you jump into a venture. Everyone knows this is part of the groundwork for a project. Plain and simple.

        If you come up with a cool idea such as Uber-for-Fuel like these guys did; you must ask yourself why no one else has done it.
        And to that effect, also ask yourself why guys who sell fuel out of drums in shady mkotos get arrested.

        Those simple questions will lead you to an answer.

  3. There are laws for a reason. People are quick to slam government enforcing the law, when it’s convenient to their narrative. Then when it’s suits you again, you slam them for not enforcing it. To begin with they should have approached the relevant ministry if they were not clear on the law.

    Regardless, of the ”nobility” of their cause, fuel is also supposed to be sold without favour, i.e, reserved for special groups, unless by government directive. So, instead of delivering fuel to service stations, Heavy Fuels was withholding fuel from the market for their own “project”.

    In my opinion, there are also no vulnerable groups when it comes to driving. If you are too sickly, or too old to queue for fuel, chances are you shouldn’t be driving in the first place. Catch a taxi or a kombi, there’s a mentality that once you own a car, you MUST drive everywhere.

    You have also misrepresented that they were selling fuel at market value. Technically, they were selling in real USD via PayPal, not our RTGS funny money. Again, it’s something which the ministry disallowed.

    All you heard was that government blocked a start-up, and ran to the keyboard.

  4. A lot of talk has come out of government about being opfeen for business, but situations like this give them the opportunity to walk the talk. Many an idea may fall afoul of regulations, but where genuine issues are being solved and opportunities are revealed, they should find a way of taking down that specific hurdle so that next time, others won’t trip over it.

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