By OLIVER SAMBOKO
GOVERNMENT should facilitate resumption of operations at Indeni Petroleum Refinery in Ndola as opposed to depending on shortterm fuel supply contracts, an energy expert Victor Hazemba has advised.
Mr Hazemba said the continued closure of Indeni and importation of finished petroleum products was not only costing the country huge sums of money but also has put jobs at the refinery at risk. The Ndola-based fuel processing plant was shut down last December due to a lack of commingled petroleum feedstock in the country.
Recently, Government announced that operations at the country’s only refinery are expected to resume before the end of this year. Mr Hazemba warned that it was a security risk to continue depending on private companies to run the oil sector. He added that in an event that the private players decided to sabotage the economy, the country could be left without fuel. “Leaving the oil sector in private hands opens the country to arm twisting by the industry players,” he said.
Mr Hazemba said the government should also ensure that the cash-constrained refinery was fully recapitalised to improve its efficiency. He said the country could not continue depending on imports of finished products through private suppliers when it has capacity to refine petroleum products locally.
Mr Hazemba also called on Government to speed up the actualisation of the US$5 billion oil pipeline project signed with Angola which would pave way for supply of finished petroleum products from that country.