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‘DON’T RUSH TANKER DEAL’

He said this is because the countries where Zambia loads fuel from could also decide to cut off Zambian tankers to enter their territories.

Mr Chikwanda said while the decision by Government to empower local petroleum transporters was welcome, cutting off foreign transporters from the supply chain would bring problems to the sector. He said this is because the countries where Zambia loads fuel from could also decide to cut off Zambian tankers to enter their territories.

Mr Chikwanda said a well planned transitional phase should be put in place to allow the smooth flow of fuel because if the country cut off the foreign transporters abruptly, it could disrupt the fuel supply.

“Remember it’s foreign transporters that have been bringing in fuel, so you can’t just stop them abruptly. Yes, the country can cut off 50 percent of foreign transporters but then we don’t know how powerful and influential the owners of the tankers are,” he said. Mr Chikwanda advised Government to escalate energy diplomacy that would allow Zambia and foreign transporters to find the best way of implementing the 50 percent empowerment for locals. He said to achieve this, a task force must be set up to investigate the challenges Zambian tanker drivers face in Tanzania and Mozambique. Mr Chikwanda explained that because Indeni Petroleum Refinery has not been in production since December last year, it has created pressure on the country to rely on fuel imports by road. “As a result of this, the local transporters who were getting fuel from Indeni are now competing business with the foreign transporters who were traditionally bringing in fuel from outside,” Mr Chikwanda said.

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