Construction of refined fuel pipeline way forward, Chikwanda tells Govt

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 10:19:43 +0000



GOVERNMENT must expedite the construction of a pipeline for refined fuel, to bring to an end the perennial conflicts between local and foreign transporters, says the Energy Expert Johnstone Chikwanda.

Mr Chikwanda said it was now clear that local transporters felt that foreign transporters had taken over their jobs.

He said there had been a sharp increase in the number of local fuel transporters due to new entrants and fleet expansion by old transporters.

He said the Energy Regulation Board 2016 list of licensed transporters stood at 586 which was sharp increase over the last ten years and that had seen fuel consumption in Zambia doubled in the last 10 years.

The energy expert encouraged Zambia Railways and TAZARA to push for some shares in the new pipeline by diversifying and investing in some trucks for local transportation of fuel to compete with private local transporters.

Mr Chikwanda noted that the volume of fuel being imported into Zambia and that which was transiting through to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had increased exponentially and would continue to do so due to increased economic activities.

He said the pressure on the roads was significant and the potential for road carnage would continue to increase.

He said that the fact that government had decided to engage various stakeholders meant that government cared and understood what was at stake.

“While the forum believes in local empowerment, we also feel that local transporters ought to appreciate the gravity of challenges which include legal implications involved in stopping a company from using a transporter of choice,

“If local transporters can be feeling the impact when government is the dominant importing party, what about after government dis-engagement when Oil Marketing Companies will be importing for themselves?

“Are we going to stop someone who has imported his fuel from offloading directly at a client of his choice or at his own filling station, because some OMCs have negotiated long term transport contracts based on overall volume to be moved in the region?” he asked.

Mr Chikwanda said it was for that reason the forum in its recent submission to government highlighted how local fuel transporters could be impacted negatively after government dis-engagement from fuel importation and how the impact could be reduced.

There was need to balance concerns well within the wider prism of other transporters and stakeholders including line ministries such as energy, commerce and transport.

Mr Chikwanda encouraged various stakeholders in the sector to take advantage of the ongoing consultations being spearheaded by the Minister of Energy and submit well researched proposals which would contribute to finding a suitable balanced model which would form, guide and mentor fuel procurement after government dis-engagement from the process.


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