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OIL FIRMS FACE CHOP …For creating an artificial fuel shortage in the country

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  • Minister of Energy, Mathew Nkhuwa said it was disappointing that erratic supply of fuel has continued despite government having waived the exercise duty on the commodity.

By ANDREW MUKOMA

GOVERNMENT has threatened to revoke licences of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) that are creating fuel shortages.

Minister of Energy, Mathew Nkhuwa said it was disappointing that erratic supply of fuel has continued despite government having waived the exercise duty on the commodity.

Mr Nkhuwa said Government will have no option but to revoke licenses of the OMCs that were artificial shortages of fuel.

He said this in an interview after conducting a tour of some selected filling stations in Livingstone on Friday. 

The minister said he was particularly disappointed with the way Puma management was running and managing its business in some parts of the country especially in Livingstone.

He said it was disheartening that an oil marketing company like Puma, which had been in business for more than 70 years was failing to buy fuel for its filling stations.

Mr Nkhuwa could not understand how a filling station of such reputation could fail to buy petrol and service its customers.

“What we have learnt from the four filling stations we have toured is that three of them have both petrol and diesel, only one which is Puma does not have petrol and speaking to them, they have enough stock to  last five to six days and they are ordering some more.

“The only disappointing thing is that Puma who are 70 years old in this industry are the ones that are failing to order fuel while others like MT Meru are ordering fuel,” he said.

Asked on why the country experienced fuel shortage in the last weeks, the Minister said that the problem was with oil marketing companies who were expensive.

“There was a problem and the problem was that the fuel was very expensive, Oil Marketing Companies were running very expensive in Zambia. Therefore, we stopped ordering and upon realising that the Zambian government did sit down and made some consultations and after consultations, we moved excise duty on diesel, we reduced petrol from K 2.764 ngwee and we zero-rated the VAT so that the end user doesn’t get affected,” he explained.

“At the moment, the end user is still buying the fuel at the same price that they were buying before and others are asking why they are not seeing the benefit of reduced fuel,” Mr Nkhuwa said.

Meanwhile, Mr Nkhuwa has assured the public that there will be no increase in the price of fuel in the country in the immediate future.

He said fuel shortage in Zambia has ended and that the supply of the commodity has nornalised.

He explained that the shortage was caused by the price increase of crude oil on the international market which made it too expensive for oil marketing companies to import into Zambia.

Mr Nkhuwa also said Government removed value added tax on fuel, got rid of the excise duty on diesel and reduced duty on petrol so that the end users are not affected.

He explained that the tax waiver has saved the country from having a price increase on fuel which was supposed to happen following the rise on the cost of fuel on the international market and the devaluing of the Kwacha against the United States Dollar of about 51 percent.

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