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Open TAZAMA Pipeline to other players – oil dealers

feel restricting the usage of the Pipeline to one company to the exclusion of other players defeats the principle of competitiveness in business

OIL dealers have complained that the extension of a contract to clean up the TAZAMA Pipeline which was awarded to Agro Fuel Investment Limited to begin importing low Sulphur Diesel has effectively curtailed other players in the sector from utilizing the pipeline.

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The Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) are concerned that Government has decided to award Agro Fuel Investment Limited a contract to import low Sulphur Diesel after its initial contract to clean up the Pipeline had expired in August.

Government has single-sourced Agro Fuel Investment Limited to procure three consignments of low Sulphur Diesel at a total cost of US$210 million, the decision that has displeased other oil dealers who are unable to use the pipeline.

But efforts to get a comment from Sashi Patel, the managing director of Agro Fuel Investment Limited failed as his mobile phone went unanswered on several attempts.

The Daily Nation sent a press query to Mr Patel asking about the extension of his contract which was initially limited to cleaning the pipeline but by press time, there had been no response to the query.  

“Greetings Sir, we have been informed that your company Agro Fuel Investment Limited was contracted to clean up the TAZAMA Pipeline and that the contract ostensibly should have ended by the end of August 2023. However, the Daily Nation has been informed that your contract has been extended, that you have been single-sourced to import three consignment of processed low Sulphur Diesel worth US$270 million through the converted TAZAMA Pipeline. Could you confirm if your contract has been extended? Your quick response would highly be appreciated,” the press query to Mr Patel read.

But Dr Kafula Mubanga, the president of the Oil Marketing Companies Association of Zambia (OMCAZ) said the extension of the contract should not have been given to Agro Fuel Investment Limited which had already been considered for business.

Dr Mubanga said the apeal of the oil dealers was that the TAZAMA Pipeline should be open to other players instead of being restricted to only one company because that was killing competitiveness in business.

He said Government should have considered floating an open tender so that other players could have participated from which it was going to have a more competitive bidding price.

“We are of the view that the TAZAMA Pipeline should be open to public tendering so that other players can use it to import fuel. We want other players to import and pump their product through the same pipeline and so, the pipeline usage should be open. It is our appeal  that Government should consider allowing other players in the sector to use the facility instead of restricting to Agro Fuel Investment Limited,” Dr Mubanga said.    



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