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‘Ending refined fuel importation should’nt halt indeni operations’

KALONDE NYATI, Lusaka
ENERGY expert Johnston Chikwanda says Government’s planned exit from importing refined fuel supplies should not halt the operations of Indeni Oil refinery.
Mr Chikwanda, who is also Energy Forum Zambia chairperson, has called for sufficient exit plans that will inform, guide and mentor the fuel procurement process in future.
“While the move is welcome, it is important to put in place measures that will ensure the sustainability of Indeni Oil Refinery and not compromise the quality of petroleum in the country,” he said.
He observed that the development is likely to result in a further increase in the price of fuel to about 25 percent due to the import duty among other costs.
He said government may waive the 25 percent import duty to keep the pump price at the same level.
Government has abolished subsidies on fuel and announced its intended exit from refined fuel procurement by March 1 next year.
“Government’s exit from refined fuel procurement is a major policy statement because of the sensitivity of the sector. It is hoped that sufficient exit plans will be put in place to inform, guide and mentor future fuel procurements without “killing” Indeni Refinery and quality, among other concerns,” he said in response to a press query.
He also commended Government for removing fuel subsidies as they benefit few Zambians and are a cost on the treasury.
“This is a major highlight. Government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars supporting fuel subsidies. Although part of the public benefited, the bulk of the subsidies went to bulk consumers,” he said.
On oil and gas explorations, Mr Chikwanda says it is anticipated that explorations will be heightened next year in view of Government’s commitment to speed up the process.

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