NKOLE MULAMBIA & HELEN MWANDILA, Ndola
THE design capacity for Indeni Petroleum Refinery and Tazama Pipeline Limited has reduced from 1.1 million metric tonnes to 700,000 due to various reasons, Minister of Energy David Mabumba has said.
And Mr Mabumba says Government is in the process of formulating a petroleum sector reform policy that will allow private firms to participate in the procurement of petroleum products and construction of storage facilities in the country.
He said the reforms to engage the private sector is one of the key pronouncements in the 2017 national budget presented by Minister of Finance Felix Mutati in October last year.
The minister said this during a public consultative meeting in Ndola on Wednesday.
â€œAs Government, we are now getting stakeholdersâ€™ proposals on ways to involve them in the procurement of petroleum products and once done, a comprehensive document will be submitted to Cabinet for approval,â€ he said.
At the moment, Government procures crude oil and finished petroleum products.
In this yearâ€™s budget, Government wants to start the gradual process of allowing the importation of petroleum products by the private sector.
Mr Mabumba said some countries in the Common Market for Southern and East Africa (COMESA) region such as Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and South Africa have put in place legislations that do not allow them to participate in the procurement of petroleum products but it is left to the private sector.
And Mr Mabumba said the reduction in design capacity of Indeni and Tazama means that Government will have to import the shortfall.
He said in terms of the available storage facilities at the moment, Ndola has the capacity to store 47,600 cubic litres of petrol and 85,210 cubic litres of diesel while the Lusaka fuel depot has room for 10,000 cubic litres of petrol and 14,000 cubic litres of diesel.
The Mpika depot has capacity to store 2,000 cubic litres of petrol and 4,000 cubic litres of diesel, Mongu can accommodate 2,000 cubic litres of petrol and 4,000 cubic litres of diesel with the Solwezi depot having room for 5,000 cubic litres of petrol and 10,000 cubic litres of diesel.
Mr Mabumba also called on the private sector to submit proposals on ways in which they can participate in setting up storage facilities in the country.
He said the countryâ€™s current daily consumption rate for diesel stands at 2, 200 cubic litres and 1,200 cubic litres of petrol.
Some of the proposals expected to be submitted by various stakeholders include the creation of an oil marketing company consortium to import fuel on behalf of Government.