Oil reg­u­la­tor wants fuel im­port trucks banned

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Florence Ncube

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.