Oil regulator wants fuel import trucks banned
THE National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC) has called for a ban on the use of haulage trucks to import fuel, saying this was fuelling smuggling of the commodity, damage on roads and environmental hazards.
NOIC chief executive officer Mr Wilfred Matukeni revealed that his organisation was in talks with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to strategise on how best the proposal could be implemented.
He told Chronicle Business on the sidelines of a joint stakeholder strategy meeting in Victoria Falls yesterday that plans were underway to expand the fuel pipeline into the country so as to curb importation by road.
He said authorities in Zimbabwe were working with Beira-Feruka-Harare pipeline companies, PetroZim Line Ltd (PZL, and Campanhia do Pipeline Mocambique-Zimbabwe Limitada (CPMZ) to expand the fuel pipeline that will be the only feeder for the local fuel industry.
He said the process will also include colour coding fuel at its source as a monitoring measure.
The move comes in the wake of rampant fuel smuggling from neighbouring countries, which has seen the country losing thousands of dollars in tax evasion with consumers also shortchanged. “Strict monitoring and capacitating of ports is essential in curbing smuggling. We have engaged local authorities, Zimra and Zera to help in facilitating this initiative. We as NOIC can only do so much to safeguard the country from such incidents.
“All we can do for now is advocate for such initiatives and make sure that the products we provide are lab tested in order to promote transparency, honesty and greater value for our clients,” said Mr Matukeni.
He said fuel tankers were a danger to the environment, adding that the proposal to ban them would also protect the country’s roads.
“We want to limit the overuse of roads and also make sure that consumers get quality products, which are not illegally blended. This will also control prices of fuel,” he said.
Commentators also feel the increase in use of truckers to transport fuel was causing congestion on the road, which results in accidents. Some are of the view that bulk fuel transportation should be done by the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
The NOIC boss claimed that some unscrupulous dealers were mixing fuel with paraffin or any other substance as they seek to boost volumes and then sell to unsuspecting consumers.
“To prevent all this, we are advocating for use of the pipeline other than road to transport fuel into the country,” added Mr Matukeni.
NOIC board member Mr Wilson Manase concurred that banning trucks will help curtail fuel smuggling and cultivate a sense of responsibility among fuel dealers.
“Those who smuggle fuel should just stop it now. All the fuel entering the country will now be colour coded from the source so that all smugglers are caught along the channel,” he said.
The move to embrace colour coding of fuel is expected to help tag and identify the kind of fuel being transported.
There have been reports of truckers who reportedly falsely declare their fuel as paraffin, which is not taxed at ports of entry resulting in thousands of litres of fuel being smuggled into the country duty free.
Zera has also raised concern over poor handling of fuel by illegal dealers who sell the commodity on roadsides and homes, exposing communities to risk.
The one day meeting ended yesterday. — @ hurricanefloe.