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Enlist more local fuel suppliers, state urged

By BENNIE MUNDANDO
GOVERNMENT must increase the number of local fuel suppliers participating in the haulage of imported fuel to build capacity among them just like it has done for petroleum transporters, the Energy Forum Zambia (EFZ) has said.
Speaking to the Daily Nation in an interview yesterday, EFZ chairperson Johnstone Chikwanda, said Government must increase the number of fuel supply allocations to local suppliers by the same margin awarded to transporters.
Mr Chikwanda said while what had been done for transporters was commendable, Government must extend an olive branch to local fuel suppliers as citizen’s empowerment was the only way to enhance foreign exchange, eradicate poverty, and create decent jobs for Zambians.
He said the fact that Government demonstrated will-power for transporters, it was also possible to do the same for local suppliers also.
Meanwhile, Mr Chikwanda said Government must be commended for empowering local transporters with 50 percent of fuel haulage contracts.
He said the 50 percent share of the contracts given to loca transporters to ferry imported fuel was a mammoth development.
Mr Chikwanda said this will not only empower local contractors to expand operations, increase job creation, and payment of more taxes, but also reduce pressure on forex to pay foreign transporters.
“The energy sector represents one of the few sectors which Government could rely on as a vector for local economic empowerment. It is a capital intensive industry which requires maximum support from Government for any local entrepreneur to succeed.
“While the electricity subsector is predominantly controlled by Government enterprise, the petroleum subsector, including transportation of refined fuel, has been predominantly controlled by foreign investors. This is why the step taken by Government to increase the allocation from 20 to 50 percent is commendable,” Mr Chikwanda said.
He however said there must be clarity on who qualified to be a local contractor so that only citizens benefited from Government’s initiative.

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